The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has announced that the state minimum wage will rise by 15 cents to $8.95 per hour (PDF), effective January 1, 2013. The annual wage hike is mandated by Chapter 653 of the Oregon Revised Statutes, which states that when the Consumer Price Index for urban areas goes up, the minimum wage must increase by a like percentage, rounded to the nearest 5 cents. In this case, the wage is going up 1.7 percent. The requirement was put in place by Ballot Measure 25, which Oregon voters approved in 2002.
The increase will keep Oregon’s minimum wage the second-highest in the country, behind the $9.03 rate in the state of Washington. It will exceed the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) by $1.70.
Oregon nurseries continue to be concerned about the annual increases. While most nurseries are paying most workers an amount that exceeds the minimum wage by a fair amount, they report a compression effect every time the minimum wage goes up, according to Jeff Stone, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. In other words, the rate hike puts upward pressure on the wages nurseries must pay to retain talented workers.
The wage has increased from $8.40 in 2009 and 2010 — the last time it stayed even year-to-year — to $8.50 in 2011 and $8.80 in 2012.