Employers Are Less Partisan than Congress, Saying that Higher Minimum Wage Would Boost Consumer Demand, Reduce Turnover, Increase Productivity and Improve Customer Satisfaction
Washington, DC, July 10, 2014 – Small business owners with employees strongly favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and adjusting it to keep up with the cost of living in future years, according to a scientific national opinion poll released today. Small business owners are considerably less partisan than Congress in weighing the issue. The federal minimum wage has been set at $7.25 an hour since it was last increased five years ago in July 2009.
A striking 61% of small business employers support increasing the federal minimum wage in three stages over two and a half years, and then adjusting it annually to keep pace with the cost of living. This finding is higher than reported in previous small business polling, indicating growing support among small business owners for a $10.10 federal minimum wage.
Small business owners believe that a higher minimum wage would benefit business in important ways: 58% say raising the minimum wage would increase consumer purchasing power. 56% say raising the minimum wage would help the economy. In addition, 53% agree that with a higher minimum wage, businesses would benefit from lower employee turnover and increased productivity and customer satisfaction.
Small business support for raising the federal minimum wage is strong across the country. Employers favor raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by a 67% majority in the Northeast, 61% in the Midwest, 60% in the West and 58% in the South.
Interestingly, small business owners are less partisan than Congress about raising the minimum wage. Contrary to common perception, Republican small business owners are evenly split – with 49% against and 49% in favor. Not surprisingly, support is strongest among Democratic respondents, with 84% favoring, and independents, with 61% favoring.
The poll of small business employers was conducted by Lake Research Partners, June 4-10, 2014, and commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council and Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. The scientific nationwide live telephone survey included owners of for-profit small businesses with 2 to 99 employees. A plurality of respondents were Republican, reflecting the Republican tilt of small business owners nationally. 43% of respondents identified themselves as Republican or independent-leaning Republican, 28% as Democrat or independent-leaning Democratic, and 19% as independent.
Eric Henry, President of TS Designs, a printed apparel business in Burlington, North Carolina, said in commenting on the poll findings, “From over 30 years in business, I know firsthand that investing in employees is the best investment a business can make. We need our government to raise the minimum wage so that all workers can make a living and businesses have the stronger customer base we need to create lasting homegrown jobs and profitability. And by automatically adjusting the minimum wage for the cost of living in future years, we will assure it doesn’t again erode and undermine our economy.”
“Small business livelihoods depend on revenue, not rhetoric,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Workers and consumers are not two different species. When wages are so low that workers can’t make ends meet, it weakens consumer demand and hurts business. As this national poll shows, small business owners expect a higher minimum wage to boost customer purchasing power and customer satisfaction, reduce employee turnover and increase productivity.”
“Business owners today are increasingly aware that low consumer demand due to low wages is not economically sustainable,” said David Levine, CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council. “What they understand is that a strong economy does not depend on partisan politics, but depends on a sturdy wage floor. The message from this national poll is clear: small business owners want a $10.10 federal minimum wage and they want it to keep up with the cost of living in the future. ”
To view the report of poll findings and methodology visit: http://bit.ly/ASBC_BFMW_Poll
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense. www.businessforafairminimumwage.org
The American Sustainable Business Council and the ASBC Action Fund represent a membership network of more than 200,000 businesses nationwide, and more than 325,000 entrepreneurs, executives, managers and investors. They inform policy makers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. ASBC www.asbcouncil.org ASBC Action Fund www.asbcaction.org.