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Sublette County living wage could be out of reach

Posted: Monday, Aug 11th, 2014

PINEDALE – According to data from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the state minimum wage is far below the required living wage for many workers in Sublette County. The MIT Living Wage Calculator, which can be found online at www.livingwage.mit.edu, places the living wage for a worker in a family of two adults and two children at $16.80 while the minimum wage sits at $7.25 – the state minimum wage is lower, but the national rate supercedes state law.

The living wage is based on what an individual must earn to support a family if they are the sole provider and working full time (2,080 hours per year). The state’s minimum wage doesn’t change, ignoring any dependents the worker may have. The living wage for an individual with no family in Sublette County sits at $8.28, still more than a dollar above the minimum wage.

In Wyoming however, state employees argue the minimum wage has no bearing on the situation at all.

“The minimum wage is not relevant; companies are starting people at higher than the minimum wage,” said David Bullard, senior economist at the Department of Workforce Services’ Research and Planning office.

As an economist, Bullard posited arguments against raising the state or nation’s minimum wage to meet a living wage.

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