One in 10 working Georgians makes minimum wage

  • Follow Metro

ATLANTA — One of every 10 working Georgians now makes the minimum wage, federal statistics show.

That is triple the proportion when the recession technically ended nearly three years ago, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Recent increases in the minimum wage partly explain the rise, but the percentage of Georgians earning $7.25 an hour – and in some cases less – rose to 9.6 last year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The national figure is 5.2 percent.

The figures suggest the sluggish economic recovery is not reaching the ranks of the working poor – and might be enlarging them.

William Bell, an unemployed trucker, once scoffed at jobs paying the minimum but says he and others have to survive somehow on the low wages being offered.

“Employers have the upper hand,” said Bell, 54. “We’re being offered crumbs. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to survive on those crumbs and put food on the table.”

Georgia officials have long touted the state’s pay scale as a potent lure for labor-intensive industries, a financial incentive that has helped attract hundreds of low-wage businesses and factories over the years.

“Most small businessmen are big believers in the free market and wages, like anything else, will work themselves out,” said Kyle Jackson, the director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Georgia.

“Employers who are artificially paying their employees less than what the market dictates aren’t going to have good employees and successful businesses,” Jackson said.

Comments (14) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
specsta
6776
Points
specsta 05/22/12 - 12:18 am
7
1
Greed

An amount as small as $7.25 hour should be strictly for unskilled, untrained youth. No one who has rent, utilities, insurance, food, etc. can live on $290 a week, before taxes.

Companies should be satisfied making a fair and decent profit - not an obscene profit at the expense of the workers. Folks need to get paid at least $10 hour in order to pull themselves out of a poverty-destined situation.

Some of these CEOs need to take a smaller bonus, instead of taking millions and reducing worker pay and orchestrating lay-offs. Greed is a very ugly monster here in America.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 05/22/12 - 01:00 am
8
0
"The rest of the story"

Thousands of much higher-paying jobs in our state remain unfilled because our folks don't have the academic skills and work ethic to obtain and retain them.

Georgia Power CEO Paul Bower laments that half of the GA HS grads who take his firm's employment screening test fail it. And his corporation's jobs pay from $20 to $35 per hour.

RCBOE member Frank Dolan, a highly successful local industrialist, also exasperatingly reminded his colleagues at a recent board meeting that Augusta has lost thousands of higher-paying jobs to Greenville, Aiken and Charleston because of the quality of My Hometown's workforce.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/22/12 - 03:57 am
3
3
If you don't have a job $7.25

If you don't have a job $7.25 is great. If you are an industrious, smart person making minimum wage you will find a way to move up. The job and work produced have to demand a higher salary, not the worker simply wanting more. If that worked, we could just have a $50 minimum wage for everyone no matter the work produced.

nevertoolate
291
Points
nevertoolate 05/22/12 - 05:57 am
6
0
@craig spinks

I can tell you from personal experience that 80%-90% fail the initial employment screening test at Vogtle...and passing that test will get you in the door; to clean toilets and wax floors. They recruit only the highest caliber because someday, those persons cleaning and waxing floors, will be Nuclear Operators, Nuclear Electricians, Nuclear Mechanics, Chemistry Techs and Health Physics Techs~just to name a few career paths from the lowly new hires. Many people don't understand this; but in my opinion, we need only those of the highest caliber because someday, the southeastern region of the US will greatly depend on their knowledge, training and critical thinking skills to keep the plant running perfectly.

FreedomRiders
14
Points
FreedomRiders 05/22/12 - 07:02 am
5
1
Tell Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson:

Raise the minimum wage to jump start the American economy. Imagine having to feed your family, pay rent and basic services at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. There is not a single state in America where a worker living on current federal minimum wage can afford a two - bedroom unit working a standard 40 - hour work week. What's more, in 2011 a minimum - wage worker after working 40 hours per week for a full year would have just one hour's worth of wages left over to spend on rent and other basic services, after paying for family health - insurance coverage. The high unemployment rates that were a legacy of the Bush administration have put enormous downward pressure on wages, as employers have not felt the need to offer competitive wages to hold on to workers. The resulting low wages have increased " child and family poverty" and continue to drive up the gult of inequality between the 1% and the 99% in America.

Little Lamb
48049
Points
Little Lamb 05/22/12 - 07:03 am
1
4
Artificial?

Kyle Jackson is the director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Georgia (whatever that is . . .). He said:

Employers who are artificially paying their employees less than what the market dictates aren’t going to have good employees and successful businesses.

How do you artificially pay someone?

The Associated Press is now in full campaign mode for Obama's re-election. They are using the rhetoric of Karl Marx. Look at the sentence in paragraph 6 above — “Employers have the upper hand.”

My friends, a job is a contract. The wage is negotiated. If you have skills, you will be compensated for the skills. If you have a strong back, you will be compensated for your strong back. If you have laziness, lack of attention to detail, absenteeism, tardiness, an entitlement mentality — society does not need you. You should not be compensated.

itsanotherday1
47070
Points
itsanotherday1 05/22/12 - 08:19 am
2
4
“Employers have the upper

“Employers have the upper hand,” said Bell, 54. “We’re being offered crumbs. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to survive on those crumbs and put food on the table.”

Employers have the upper hand? Of course they do, they exist to make a profit, not to provide jobs or worry about if the employees can make ends meet.
Wonder what that wage would be if there were no illegal workers in America? If there weren't people lined up for those $7.25 jobs, the employer would have to pay whatever it takes to get someone.
I remember a story about 15 years ago where a Wendy's in Panama City was paying $10/hr because there was not enough local summer help. Supply and demand works.

itsanotherday1
47070
Points
itsanotherday1 05/22/12 - 08:28 am
0
6
Specsta, I've done this

Specsta, I've done this exercise for you all, so I won't bore you again, just try it yourself. The next time you hear of what you consider to be an outrageous salary for a CEO, look up the company's stats. Divide his salary by the number of employees, then divide that by 2080 to see how much per hour per employee that adds up to. The recent whining about the Kroger CEO taking 6 or 8 million in bonus worked out to about 1 PENNY/ hr for workers.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 05/22/12 - 08:52 am
1
0
Question

Is the minimum wage the same in all states? I was wondering how in the world do people who live in California, Alaska, the DC area live on $7.25 an hour with the cost of living in those areas much higher than ours. I do agree that people should be compensated with more pay when they have more education and skills but $7.25 isn't much money at all for anyone to survive.

Little Lamb
48049
Points
Little Lamb 05/22/12 - 08:59 am
1
3
Spin

From the article:

One of every 10 working Georgians now makes the minimum wage, federal statistics show. That is triple the proportion when the recession technically ended nearly three years ago, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

Yes, in order to have some hope for re-election, the Obama regime (of which the Associated Press is a part) had to declare the recession ended, even though unemployment is still very high.

And even for those employed, three times as many are employed at minimum wage than were three years ago. Yes, they are employed, but you would have to call them underemployed. How many of these minimum wage workers are employed by nail salons? Do we really need so many?

Connor Threlkeld
943
Points
Connor Threlkeld 05/22/12 - 09:24 am
4
0
I remember seeing starting

I remember seeing starting jobs at McDonalds in the northeast listed at closer to $14 an hour back in 2000. Employers have the upper hand because unemployment is high, same as home buyers have the upper hand because the supply of houses for sale is high.

Stillamazed, a number of states have higher state minimum wage laws, the $7.25 an hour is just the federal minimum wage. Illinois and Nevada bumped it up to $8.25/hour, and apparently San Francisco has a city minimum wage of $10.24. Some index it to inflation, others have a law that says theirs will be a certain amount above the federal minimum. The state-by-state breakdown is at www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 05/22/12 - 09:29 am
3
0
stillamazed. states may have

stillamazed. states may have a minimum wage rate that is higher than the federal rate. CEO pay vis-a-vis averwage worker pay is outrageous. I'm not asking or expecting the government to step in and regulate it though. It would just be nicer to have a classier ruling class. Scrooge McDucks would have everyone believe they are lucky to just have a job and not be compensated more fairly. Shoot. How do companies that go belly up still manage to hand out golden parachutes?

Little Lamb
48049
Points
Little Lamb 05/22/12 - 09:40 am
2
1
What Next?

Specsta posted:

Folks need to get paid at least $10 hour in order to pull themselves out of a poverty-destined situation.

Just nine nano-seconds after some future president signs a $10-per-hour minimum wage act into law, liberal whiners will holler that $13-per-hour is the new "living" wage and that $10 per hour is just intolerable.

It never stops.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/22/12 - 01:02 pm
2
1
Let's just bump it to $100 an

Let's just bump it to $100 an hour. Why not? If the lowest workers made $100 an hour no one would be poor. Poverty would end and everyone could pay for their medical care, have nice houses and cars. Does Congress realize that's all we have to do? I mean we could be over the rainbow.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Local merchants welcome Small Business Saturday

With having to compete with e-commerce and national retailers during the holiday season, local merchants welcome the spotlight that comes with Small Business Saturday.
Search Augusta jobs