Inflation Is Sending State Wage Floors Above $15 An Hour
June 8, 2022
Center Operations Manager Natalie Shaak was quoted in an article discussing the impact of inflation on wages, including inflation indexing provisions as part of minimum wage increases..
At least 16 states and the District of Columbia index their minimum wages to inflation, meaning that as inflation rises, those wage floors rise too.
Workers' attorneys say indexing to inflation helps wages keep pace with rising costs. But employers' attorneys say indexing can contribute to layoffs and further inflation, which as of April was at 8.3%, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index, a federal measure of the average change over time of prices consumers pay for goods and services.
But some observers have questioned whether the Consumer Price Index is the best measure to peg to minimum wage.
"A living wage would be more important, but that's hard to quantify," said Natalie Shaak, operations manager at Drexel University's Center for Hunger-Free Communities, who authored a 2021 policy brief on whether a $15 minimum wage is high enough.
"The challenge of the Consumer Price Index is that it fluctuates, as we're seeing right now," Shaak said. "A lot of that is impacted, obviously, by supply and demand and everything that's going on."