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Labor Day draws concern over local wages

By Kaitlin Loukides
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:09:19 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 02 2013 07:21:02 PM CDT

Lack of jobs in southeast Idaho is causing a ripple effect - starting with Idaho ranking lowest in the nation when it comes to minimum wage.

POCATELLO, Idaho -

A recent report released by the CATO Institute shows Idaho workers are among the lowest-paid in the nation.

The study ranks Idaho down to number 51 stacked-up against the rest of the country when it comes to hourly wages. It shows Idahoans working low-wage jobs, make an average of $5.36 per hour, compared to the $7.25 set at the federal level.

Click here to view the study.

With welfare benefits averaging-out to $17,766 in Idaho, the state ranks down to number 48 compared to the rest of the nation. 

According to the study, this means many Idahoans working low-wage jobs are opting for living solely on welfare benefits, which is a better pay-off than working a minimum wage job.

Investment analysts said this is not the solution to this problem. Instead, this type of mentality tends to make the problem worse.

"Too many are relying on their handouts and not using them as a hand-up and they are becoming dependent," Investment advisor Jon Cline said. "The reality is, it's a downward spiral; it's not healthy. A person needs to take a hand-up and fight, and sometimes turn off the spigot of money coming to them freely."

But, Cline understands the hardships many southeast Idahoans are facing in this tough job market. 

"Most people are having a hard time getting a job. Work is difficult and I talk to people all of the time about them being laid-off or them searching for jobs. So it is really common for people not to be able to find work right now."

However, Cline said things are about to start looking-up. He said the job market will improve and more jobs will start opening-up in the near future. His best advice at the moment is for people to keep saving their money and working hard.

Click here for more the most recent wage study released by the Idaho Department of Labor.


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