(Helena, MT) Montanans earning minimum wage will see an increase from $7.90 per hour to $8.05 per hour on January 1, 2015. An estimated 12,850 Montana workers, or 2.9 percent of the workforce, received hourly wages less than $8.05 per hour in 2014 and are likely to receive higher wages due to the 2015 minimum wage increase.
Gov. Steve Bullock welcomed the increase. "People who work full time for a living shouldn’t be living in poverty. Higher wages ensure that working Montana families aren't falling behind and are able to make ends meet," Bullock said. "Montana's leading our country in economic growth by making sure our workers earn a decent wage and they have the skills for the jobs we're creating."
In 2006, Bullock led a coalition that, through a voter's initiative, raised Montana's minimum wage and provided automatic adjustments for inflation increases. That measure garnered 73 percent of the vote.
“By tying our minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U), we can ensure that working Montanans are able to keep up with inflation and maintain the same level of purchasing power over time,” said Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy. “This wage increase is extremely important to workers who stretch each paycheck to support their families.”
In 2013, the industry with the largest number of workers earning minimum wage was the accommodations and food services industry followed by the retail trade industry. Cashiers, Combined Food and Preparation Workers, Waiters and Waitresses, and Retail Salespersons are occupations with large number of minimum wage workers.
“Minimum wage workers represent a broad spectrum of our population,” said Bucy. “Nearly half of all workers earning minimum wage are over the age of 25, and 62 percent of Montana minimum wage workers are women.”
MCA 39-3-409 requires the Montana Department of Labor and Industry to adjust the Montana minimum wage for inflation using the CPI-U. The 2015 minimum wage has been calculated by taking the current minimum wage of $7.90 and increasing it by the CPI-U increase from August of 2013 to August 2014. The CPI-U increased by 1.7 percent over the year ending August 2014.
Information relating to Montana’s minimum wage may be downloaded from DLI’s website at www.mtwagehourbopa.com.