Colorado’s minimum wage is expected to rise to $12.56 per hour in 2022 — a boost that major business groups say doesn’t answer the question of where employers will find talent during a labor shortage.
The coming hike is a result of Colorado law that requires annual inflationary adjustments of the wage, which currently is $12.32 after statewide voters elected to boost it over a four-year period to $12 per hour in 2020 and then raise it by inflation thereafter. The Colorado Department of Labor will hold public hearings and take comments on the proposal through Nov. 3, but it’s very unlikely that workers will get a baseline pay of anything other than $12.56 an hour after Jan. 1.
However, most business groups now say that few of their members can pay minimum wage in today’s highly competitive labor market and are more worried about whether they can find the needed talent at any wage level conducive to realistic pricing.
“In speaking with businesses across the state, many are already paying above minimum wage and will continue to do so. However, some continue to experience workforce shortages despite higher wages,” said Loren Furman, senior vice president of state and federal government relations for the Colorado Chamber of Commerce. “Filling those jobs remains one of the biggest challenges for Colorado’s economy.”