Small Business Big Voice

$15 an Hour Entry-Level Wages? Sure – But By Choice, Not Mandate

Pennsylvania’s economy has been on an upswing this year.  Thanks in large part to the success of the federal Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, there is a general sense of optimism about where our economy is headed and employers are announcing their plans to reinvest in their facilities and their workers – including paying them more for the work they do.

 

Case in point – the rapidly growing Lehigh Valley, where the economy has reached a record-high $39.1 billion – higher than the days when the steel industry dominated the region.   At a recent meeting of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, President and CEO Don Cunningham told a room of Pennsylvania Congressional members and state lawmakers that for the second consecutive year, the region has ranked among the Top 5 in the northeast for economic development; and that the expanding e-commerce sector has created a market-based minimum wage of $15 an hour and full employment in online fulfilment centers that serve direct-to-consumer shopping.  “That is an incredible thing that has happened here,” Cunningham told the audience. “A lot of governments are thinking of legislating a $15 minimum wage. Here, the market has created it.”

 

Let’s hone in on that statement - the market has created it.  It’s what the PA Chamber has been telling proponents of minimum wage hikes all along – that one-size-fits-all government mandates create economic hardships for many businesses, especially small businesses.  However, when the economy is working in their favor, employers can and WILL re-invest that money back into the workers they value.  Wage hikes are happening not just in the Lehigh Valley, but across America because business owners now feel like they’re on much more solid financial ground and can better afford to reward the people they employ. It’s the magic of the free market, and we’re glad that it’s working in the Lehigh Valley and throughout the Commonwealth as we work to build a better economic future for all.

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Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.