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New York businesses adapt to $14.20 minimum wage: Labor shortage means wages are already above that line in many industries

As the new year begins, minimum wage workers in New York have received a $1 raise, bringing the rate to $14.20 per hour.

This increase is part of the state’s ongoing efforts to gradually increase minimum wage to $15 per hour. That effort began in 2016. Governor Hochul stated that the wage increase will affect approximately 200,000 Upstate New York workers.

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While this news may be welcomed by workers, particularly in light of inflation, it may present challenges for small businesses who were already struggling to make ends meet with the previous minimum wage rate, inflation, and other costs associated with doing business.

“Basic economic theory tells us you don’t have a win-win situation in these kinds of circumstances, because just as it helps workers, someone is going to have to pay those higher minimum wages,” RIT Economics Professor Amit Batabyal told RochesterFirst.com about the move. He added that small businesses are facing additional difficulties due to labor shortages and supply chain disruptions.

Some business owners, however, have already moved beyond paying minimum wage.

Batabyal predicts that the minimum wage rate in New York will continue to increase in the coming years, though perhaps not at the same steady rate as in previous years. Some state lawmakers are calling for minimum wage to be increased beyond $20 an hour to compensate for cost of living in New York.



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