According a report by Bloomberg News, a hike in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour might only cost consumers an additional penny on a $16 purchase.
A boost in the minimum wage to $10.10 would add $200 million — or less than 1 percent — to Wal-Mart’s annual labor bill, the University of California Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education estimates.
If Wal-Mart passed along the estimated $200 million in extra labor cost to consumers, it would equal about a penny per $16 item, said Ken Jacobs, the Labor Center’s chairman. Meanwhile, the rise may boost purchases among the chain’s core shoppers, many of whom could see their earnings climb, he said.
Walmart has remained neutral in the current minimum wage debate, but actually lobbied on behalf of a higher wage floor the last time it was raised. “The U.S. minimum wage of $5.15 an hour has not been raised in nearly a decade, and we believe it is out of date with the times,” then CEO H. Lee Scott said in a speech in 2005. “Our customers simply don’t have the money to buy basic necessities between pay checks.” The same is true today.