In 2016, I estimated the US GDP for the hospitality sector would grow by almost $1 billion, a number that does not even reflect the full effect of the economy in that sector. That number alone is much bigger than the $45 million in new spending that my 2015 study expected for the American leisure & hospitality industry. As companies look for ways to eliminate jobs in order to survive at higher prices, it creates a market for low-wage workers looking for work. In order to give you an additional insight into what employers are paying on the low end of the wage scale, I have also been looking at hourly wages at businesses that advertise for temporary workers on Craigslist in and around Orlando, Florida. The only time I have come across any pay breakdown is when the job requires an hour or less. While I have not compiled hourly pay statistics for every state but for at least three, the results seem to be as follows: Florida: 1.45% - $15.67 $1.19 Nevada: 1.47% - $17.50 $0.83 Alabama: 1.50% - $17.10 $0.87 New Jersey: 1.55% - $17.37 $0.98 Michigan: 1.56% - $17.38 $0.97 Arizona: 1.61% - $18.08 $1.06 Texas: 1.61% - $18.08 $0.89 Illinois: 1.62% - $18.17 $0.94 Washington: 1.63% - $18.21 $0.96 Minnesota: 1.64% - $18.32 $0.97 Pennsylvania: 1.67% - $17.49 $1.03 Tennessee: (T)1.73% - $14.76 $1.13 Georgia: (T)1.74% - $17.58 $1.16 Ohio: 1.82% - $18.56 $1.15 North Carolina: 1.85% - $18.97 $1.20 Kentucky: 1.89% - $18.98 $1.20 Alabama: 1.90% - $20.14 $1.22 Florida: 1.92% - $19.30 $1.25 Texas: 1.93% - $19.30 $1.29 Arkansas: 1.95% - $19.32 $1.31 Illinois: 1.96% - $19.44 $1.33 Indiana: 1.97% - $19.40 $1.35 Pennsylvania: 1.98% - $19.59 $1.38 South Carolina: 2.00% - $19.49 $1.39
The average wage paid to low-wage workers varies by the industry and by location (California-West Coast, for example, has higher pay than Florida-Eastern/Southern States). In many states wages for low-wage workers are higher when the job is considered on its own rather than as part of an on-demand labor service.
There are no federal minimum wage laws in the US and only a handful of states and Washington, D.C. have raised their minimum wages considerably . The federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr. Most states have raised wages above the federal $7.25 threshold in a number of instances such as in Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and West Virginia. In 2016, at least one additional state passed a bill to raise its minimum hourly wage to $10.10 (Tennessee).
While the above is not a perfect measure of the price of low-wage jobs, I believe it gives a fair sample of what is being paid to low-wage workers. It also tells me that the growth of low-wage industries over the past decade isn’t as robust as the most recent reports would lead us to believe. There has not been a particularly large growth in low-wage employment since 1999 and an especially large decrease during the 1990s. Despite this, in terms of employment over the past two decades low-wage employment has grown considerably more in terms of both absolute and percent change. In 2007, there were 20,600,000 workers earning the federal minimum wage or less. By 2016 that grew to 30,300,000 . That is almost double the number of low-wage jobs that existed in 2007. This growth has not been matched by overall