Though 70 cents an hour doesn’t sound like much, it could have widespread effects on hiring and shopping when the minimum wage increases July 24 to $7.25 per hour, say two experts from Texas A&M University. The wage hike is likely to limit opportunities for low-skill workers but boost opportunities for higher-skill workers who can do tasks quicker or better, says Thomas Saving, economics professor at Texas A&M University and director of the Private Enterprise Research Center. “It’s going to make it harder for teen-agers or anyone looking for entry-level positions to get jobs,” he says. Saving has written five books on the U.S. economy and more than 200 journal articles, and has testified before Congress 12 times on economic issues.
Also, store hours might decrease as retailers scrutinize their operating hours and the coverage they have to offset any impact the increase in minimum wage has on their net profit, says Cheryl Holland Bridges, a long-time retail executive who directs the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M.She echoed Saving’s prediction about the best employees getting the good shifts, saying, “In the words of Kip Tindell, chairman of the Container Store, one excellent person is worth three good people. Retailers will be looking at productivity to try to have only excellent people on their teams.”