(KSLA) — Louisiana is not among the 24 states that are raising the minimum wage with the advent of 2020.
And Arkansas is one of the 20 states where those increases went into effect Jan. 1. The hourly rate in Arkansas increased from $9.25 to $10.
Louisiana is among only five states that does not have its own minimum wage.
Job seeker Shajuandi Gladney said it’s frustrating to hear that the minimum wage in Louisiana isn’t budging from $7.25 an hour anytime soon while the cost of living keeps climbing.
“They don’t stop raising rent. They don’t stop raising bills. Look at the water bill; it’s constantly going up. My water bill is high every month; for what?”
Gladney comes to Goodwill's Job Center, a one-stop resource with tips on everything from interview skills to dressing for success.
Darlene Robinson, of Goodwill Industries, explained that job skills training also helps a person land a job that pays better than the minimum wage.
“I think it helps. Sometimes we have people, they’ll come in in their house shoes and a bonnet on their head. And we talk about those things.”
Several important numbers are pinned on a makeshift wall of success at the Goodwill Industries Job Center in the 800 block of West 70th Street in Shreveport
Those include helping more than 2,300 people in the past year and placing more than 700 of them.
A big question is retention. In other words, how long do those employees stay on the job?
Goodwill Industries Job Center posted a retention rate of 93 percent for employees who stay at least three months on the job making an average of $9 an hour.
In recent years, Louisiana business groups have argued successfully in the state Legislature that raising the minimum wage hurts small businesses.
But wage hike supporters, like Gladney, contend that the choice is either pay now or pay later.
"Which is why a lot of people turn to, um, help in the state, you know, whenever they can get some."
Some fear that paying later, with government services, could end up costing all of us more in the end.
Goodwill Industries’ Robinson estimated about 40 percent of the agency’s job placements may start at minimum wage.
But in many of those cases, she added, new job-training skills can make an employee more valuable to the company and their pay goes up.