In my view, Amazon’s wage hike has blown a gaping hole in the low-wage, low-productivity equilibrium that has bedeviled the US for the past 3 decades. Ecommerce fulfillment centers are using technology and big data to boost productivity in the distribution sector, while creating hundreds of thousands of paid jobs by drawing hours out of the unpaid household sector.
The big debate was over how much those jobs were being paid. Now Amazon has put those disputes to rest. $15/hour is within 10% of the median wage for production occupations in many states. For example, the median hourly wage for production occupations in Illinois is $16.19, according to the BLS, and $14.73 in Georgia.
This success story is going to be copied in other physical industries. Companies are going to be forced to invest in their workers and in new technology, or be squeezed by rising wages.
|Median Hourly Wage, May 2017|
|District of Columbia||25.03|