State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian announced today that there will be no minimum wage increase in Oregon for 2016. The state’s minimum wage is tied to the national rate of inflation, and so goes up (or not) every year depending on the national CPI (Consumer Price Index). It seems that the national inflation rate has been about the same as it was in 2014. Therefore, we get no raise in Oregon’s minimum wage next year.
But we all know that prices have gone up here in Oregon. In fact even statistics show this is true. In the Portland-Salem area for example, the cost of food at home increased 3.3% and food away from home went up by 4,4% in the first half of 2015, compared to the first half of 2014. Rent in Portland is increasing at the fastest rate in the nation. According to a new report by Axiometrics, rent in Portland increased by 15% over the past year.
According to a Zillow report, rent in Portland increased 7.2% from January 2014 to January 2015, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics rent in the Portland-Salem area went up by over 5% in the first half of 2015. The situation has become so dire, in fact, that just yesterday the Community Alliance of Tenants held a press conference in Portland declaring a renter state of emergency.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Portland is unique in our state when it comes to such price increases.