The Department of Labor announced yesterday that South Dakota’s minimum wage will increase twenty cents in 2020, from $9.10 an hour to $9.30. Tipped workers get half that raise, from $4.55 an hour to $4.65.
Don’t forget, minimum-wage earners: that raise comes to you every year courtesy of the voters, who enacted this annual inflation indexing by initiative in 2014 and protected it for young workers by referendum in 2016.
Here’s a quick chart of the increases we’ve made to the minimum price for labor in our fair state:
|Year||Minimum Wage||% increase (2016 on: Consumer Price Index, rounded up to nearest nickel)
The next time you ballot question petitioners and wonder what good they’ve ever done for South Dakota, well, there you go!
By my calculations, since the $1.25 increase we enacted on January 1, 2015, we have raised the minimum wage an average of 1.8% each year for the last five years. Apply that rate annually and indefinitely, and we’ll reach Senator Bernie Sanders’s proposed $15 per hour in 2044. There’s my retirement income when I’m bagging groceries at Ken’s Super Fair Foods….
Of course, as waitpeople can attest, not everyone gets at least minimum wage in South Dakota. South Dakota law, like federal law, still discriminates against developmentally disabled workers. South Dakota also exempts from the minimum wage apprentices, babysitters, outside salespeople, and employees at seasonal bumper-car palaces, other amusement/recreation facilities, organized camps, and religious or non-profit educational conference centers. We also continue to allow employers to pay teen workers the federal training wage of $4.25 an hour for 90 days after they are hired.
21 states pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which hasn’t increased since 2010. Seventeen states offer a higher minimum wage than South Dakota’s current $9.10; the highest minima are in Washington, California, and Massachusetts, which say every worker’s time, attention, and obedience are worth at least $12 per hour. One Forbes writer adjusts each state’s minimum wage for the cost of living (as calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis) and finds that South Dakota’s minimum wage has the eleventh-highest buying power in the nation. $9.10 here buys $10.32 worth of stuff at Kessler’s, while Minnesota’s current minimum of $9.86 buys $10.11 worth of groceries at Cub Foods.