Minimum Wage Increases by 70 Cents

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

Pinching pennies has become a daily routine for many of us.

However, thanks to Thursday’s approval of a minimum wage increase, we may not have to pinch as hard.

Leighann Gunter says times are hard right now.

And, with two boys, it doesn't make things any easier.

"It's to the point now to where when I go to the grocery store I have to choose between milk or bread and honestly, it's really hard," Gunter said.

Gunter, along with other employees making minimum wage will soon have some weight lifted off their shoulders thanks to the recent federal minimum wage increase.

"I'm a single parent; it will help tremendously,” Gunter said. “I'm just starting out again, I have two boys that are fixing to start school."

Beginning July 24th, the federal minimum wage increased by 70 cents, bringing the average for the state of Alabama to $6.55 per hour.

The increase is the second of three annual increases.

While the extra cash is always welcome, some business owners say they're already paying their employees over the minimum wage.

Barefields Owner Mike Barefield said, "Small stores like myself, we can't hire anyone for minimum wage, we have to pay better salaries to get better people."

Barefield says factors in the economy are suffocating almost everyone.

And, while any little bit helps, he doesn't see how this increase is going to help employees keep up with rising costs.

"The price of gas, the price of everything we do now is high that even children, high school children cannot drive to work and pay for gas on minimum wage," Barefield said.

But, for employees like Gunter, every little bit helps.

"I think it'll help, all of us here, and a lot of people everywhere else,” Gunter concluded.

You'd be surprised at the number of businesses paying more than the minimum wage already.

However, it just goes to show how much they need to pay in order to have and keep their employees.

Employees will be seeing another increase next year by an added 70 cents, which would make the federal minimum wage to $7.25 in Alabama.

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