BUSINESS
09/25/2014 12:02 am ET Updated Sep 25, 2014

Minimum Wage Hike Has Strong Support Among Employers, Survey Finds

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Poll after poll indicates that the vast majority of Americans believe the minimum wage isn't high enough. Apparently, a lot of U.S. employers agree.

A national survey of 2,000 human resource and hiring managers done for the job search site CareerBuilder found that most of those managers think the minimum wage in their state should be at least $10 per hour. No state currently has a minimum wage of $10, although many have a higher wage floor than the federal level of $7.25.

According to results released by CareerBuilder Thursday, more than 60 percent of the employers surveyed, including 58 percent of senior-level managers, said their state minimum wage should be increased to some degree. The survey was performed by the market research firm Harris Poll.

"Among employers who want an increase in their state, improving the standard of living of workers led all business-related reasons for their support," CareerBuilder said in a breakdown of the survey. "A majority say a higher minimum wage helps the economy and helps them retain employees."

A proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour has languished in Congress, where House Republicans have so far refused to give the bill a vote. Nonetheless, cities and states around the country have moved ahead with their own minimum wage hikes, and several such proposals will be on state-level ballots come November.

Opponents of raising the minimum wage often argue that businesses couldn't withstand the higher costs. The survey done by Harris Poll suggests that many hiring managers don't necessarily agree, even in low-wage industries like restaurants and retail.

Although only 7 percent said a minimum wage of $15 was reasonable, about half of those surveyed said they thought a fair minimum wage would be somewhere between $10 and $14:

  • $7.25 per hour: 8 percent
  • $8.00 to 9.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $10.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $11.00 to 14.00 per hour: 19 percent
  • $15.00 or more per hour: 7 percent
  • No minimum wage: 9 percent

Of those who opposed raising the minimum wage in their states, about two-thirds said it would force businesses to hire fewer people, and half said it would lead to layoffs. More than 60 percent of those respondents also said a wage hike would result in higher prices for consumers.

In a surprising finding, the employers who said they plan to hire minimum-wage workers this year voiced more support for raising the wage floor than employers with no such plans, by a margin of 11 points. In the hospitality and retail industries, which employ a disproportionate amount of low-wage workers, 60 percent and 68 percent of managers, respectively, said they think the minimum wage in their states should be raised.

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