North Dakota: No Minimum Wage Needed For High-Paying Jobs

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Despite nationwide debates about raising the minimum wage on the local and federal level, North Dakota appears to be enjoying about double the federal rate for entry-level positions, Watchdog reports.

Based on the amount employers are willing to pay, wages in North Dakota rarely dip below $14 per hour, despite the fact that the state itself has no minimum wage policy at all. This number is formed based on anecdotal data from Shawn Kessel, administrator for the City of Dickinson, which is located near North Dakota’s burgeoning oil fields.

Other entry-level positions offer even higher rates, with a picture of job postings for a local Wal-Mart going viral. A cashier position commanded a wage rate of $17.40 an hour.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has provided support to the claim of rapidly rising wages in North Dakota. Their analysis in March revealed that personal incomes have doubled over the past decade in North Dakota, surging from $29, 569 to more than $53,000 per capita a year, since 2003. This represents a 93 percent increase, which places North Dakota third in the union for per capita personal income, trailing behind Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

Still, there is some support in North Dakota for increasing the federal minimum wage. Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is co-sponsoring legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

“I don’t know anyone who puts in 40 hours of work who makes $15,000 a year can make ends meet in North Dakota,” she said.

Elsewhere, San Diego is joining a host of other cities refusing to wait for action from the federal government. The proposed minimum wage hike would see the wage rate increase each year, until it hit $11.50 per hour in 2017. In 2019, the rate would begin to increase again based purely on inflation.

However, James Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics at the Heritage Foundation, was skeptical about whether minimum wage increases would achieve the desired effect of making workers better off.

“Instituting a mandatory “living wage”…would cause employers to cut back on hiring and replace human labor with machines,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Even economists who believe modest increases in the minimum wage would have modest effects worry that $15 an hour would hurt low-income workers. Reducing access to entry level jobs—especially when the healthcare law has already raises businesses costs—would make it harder for workers to gain the experience necessary to move into higher paying positions.”

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