Maine Beacon - Average hourly earnings for private-sector Maine workers increased to $22.70 an hour and total employment increased to an all-time high, with a gain of more than 4,000 seasonally-adjusted jobs from December.
Significant employment gains were seen among Maine’s restaurants and hotels, with the accommodation and food service sector gaining 700 jobs.
Maine’s minimum wage increased from $7.50 to $9 an hour in January, with the sub-minimum base wage for workers who receive tips, like restaurant servers, increasing from $3.75 to $5 an hour. The minimum wage will continue to increase on an annual basis until it reaches $12 an hour in 2020. The tipped wage will reach $12 in 2024.
“Governor LePage, the restaurant lobby and other corporate interests made apocalyptic predictions about the minimum wage increase. These numbers make it pretty hard to claim that the sky is falling,” said Mainers for Fair Wages campaign manager Amy Halsted, who led the successful effort to raise the minimum wage by ballot measure in November. “These are very early numbers, but so far they indicate that the result will be the same as for every other minimum wage increase: workers will make a little more and spend it locally, benefiting both their families and our local economy.”