Yesterday, a report emerged claiming, nowhere in Florida can minimum wage afford a “fair market rent”. Like many uninspired but politically motivated reports before it, this means exactly nothing. That’s because minimum wage jobs aren’t meant to be careers. Look, we all know Florida’s expensive relative to many locations. That’s what happens when where you live is desirable. But here’s the thing, anytime you hear these tired efforts to paint narratives with false premises you should inherently reject them.
Florida’s minimum wage is currently $8.65/hr. The average hourly wage in Florida is $29.33/hr and 0.6% is earning it. That’s just a little bit higher than minimum wage, isn’t it? And why? Because when American free enterprise is allowed to do what it does best, the competition for talent drives wages higher naturally. What’s more, is that 99% of those who earn minimum wage are under the age of 25.
All of this tells you some things. First, those who earn minimum wage aren’t people attempting to raise a family, as is often advanced with the “living wage” crowd. Second, next to no one earns it regardless. Third, all of these stories are narratives, not realities. Minimum wage is there for gaining access to the job market to get skills and that’s exactly how it’s used by the next to no people who earn it. Currently, with the labor shortages, if you’re earning minimum wage, it’s by choice or you’re truly unemployable and someone’s throwing you a bone. Twenty-four years ago, I was an unpaid intern for this company. Twenty-three years ago, I made minimum wage. That’s the role of minimum wage. To start there, not to stay there.