Today the Minimum Wage in Oregon increases to $12.50/hr. Per legislative action in 2015, a stepped increase to the minimum wage runs through 2022 when the Minimum Wage will rise to $14.75. Washington also passed similar legislation that increases their Minimum Wage to $13.50 by 2020. Both states will index the future minimum wage to inflation after. The result of this has increased the minimum wage in both states by 37-38% over the past 5 years.
Although the minimum wage rate does not directly impact us, it does indirectly. We have always paid above minimum wage for our entry labor position. Our work is harder and requires more effort and training than most traditional minimum wage jobs. Our current entry level wage is at $16.00 and average wage is $17.90. This has also increased 38% over this past 5 years due to the historically low unemployment levels due to the great economy.
We are at a 49-year record low unemployment which makes finding and keeping employees difficult and has driven up wages for all service and construction industries. This has had as much an impact as the minimum wage increases.
We work hard to maintain a great work environment and that has helped us attract and retain a great staff. We also use the H2B Visa program for our seasonal labor. We hear about other contractors who cannot perform their work due to their struggle with labor. We feel somewhat lucky but know it is more than luck, it is our focus.