Increase in minimum wage set for Jan. 1

Jimmy Miller

The New Year will bring more than resolutions as Ohio has announced a 10-cent increase to the state’s minimum wage increasing it to $7.95 an hour.

The increase, set to take effect Jan. 1, applies to workers who do not receive tips on top of their hourly compensation, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce. For those who do receive tips, their wage will go up by a nickel to $3.98.

Working three jobs to help pay for her education, Lauren Nervo, sophomore early childhood education major, said she is excited for an increase in hourly pay.

“A raise in minimum wage would make it easier to pay for college, books, room and board, food … and (I would) have some extra money to spend,” Nervo said.

Though, Kent State economics assistant professor Justin Barnette said the increase would not lead to more opportunities in the job market.

The pay is a benefit for students Barnette said.

“I don’t think there will be a large effect in terms of how many jobs are available,” she said. The increase “doesn’t lead to less employment.”

The change in minimum wage shouldn’t result in businesses having to consolidate workers in an effort to make up for the increase in costs, Barnette said. Rapid changes in technology, on the other hand, could result in layoffs in the future.

“Future Kent State students have an issue because a lot of students work in retail, and a lot of those services are going to kiosk machines that operate in those spaces,” Barnette said. “Those types of jobs tend to be your minimum wage jobs. That movement might be implemented if the minimum wage goes up. (This is) not a problem now, but down the line, could be an issue.”

For now, Joseph Orosz, senior integrated social studies major, said he does not feel most on-campus jobs will be affected by the increase in minimum wage.

“I know a lot of jobs on campus start at about $8, at least from the kids I know,” Orosz said. He also said most students off campus are more likely to work for minimum wage than those on campus.

In terms of jobs paying more than minimum wage, Barnette said the minimum wage increase often will not reflect in an increase wages across the board.

“I think (a rise in minimum wage) doesn’t have such a big impact on sectors where minimum wage does not apply. In sectors such as finance, there’s no impact on it at all,” Barnette said.

Looking to the future, Barnette said he is unsure of how much more minimum wage could increase on a state or national scale.

“That’s a political question,” Barnette said.

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].