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Despite companies opting to raise starting pay rate, low wages are still being reported

service workers
Posted at 8:33 AM, Apr 20, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Despite several companies opting to raise the starting pay rate, low wages are still being reported by employees.

The average hourly wage is up about 5% in about a year according to U.S. Department of Labor data, but consumer prices rose nearly 8% during that same period.

Thousands of workers in food service, hospitality and retail are still making below $15 an hour, including the majority of workers at big-box stores and discount retailers. That low wage stands in contrast to employer who rake in vast amounts of profit, according to a new survey from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

The survey gathered hourly wages reported by employees at more than 60 companies, including Dollar General, McDonald's, Starbucks and Walmart. EPI analyzed the responses and found that 89% of McDonald's workers make below $15, while 92% of Dollar General workers also make below $15.

The survey data suggests that states should increase their minimum wage, the EPI said.

About 63% of Starbucks workers make below $15. At Walmart, 51% of workers also make below $15, according to the EPI survey, which was conducted between March and November last year.

The survey, which drew more than 20,000 responses, also notes companies where a majority of workers earn above $15 an hour, including Amazon, Costco and UPS.

Since consumer prices have gone up, experts said moving forward, the average American will likely be a few percentage points poorer this year.

EPI thinks states should increase their minimum wage.

The federal minimum wage in the U.S. has remained at $7.25 an hour for more than a decade.

Here in Tennessee, lawmakers took up a bill to more raise the state's minimum wage from $7.25 to $15, but the legislation hasn't moved forward in the past month.