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How Will a Minimum Wage Increase Affect Branson Business?

The minimum wage for non-tipped employees will increase from $7.35 to $7.50 in 2014.
BRANSON, Mo. -- Missouri is one of 12 states increasing its minimum wage in 2014.

Non-tipped workers will receive a 15 cent increase from $7.35/hr to $7.50/hr. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 60 percent of workers earning the minimum wage or less in 2012 were employed in the service industry.

That's true in Branson as well, where theaters, restaurants and other entertainment venues often hire entry-level employees at low salary levels.

"We have a lot of opportunities for high school kids for it to be their first job," said Randy Brashears at the IMAX Entertainment Complex. "They’re not looking for an 8 hour a day job, so it’s a great opportunity for them."

Many workers file for unemployment during Branson’s off season. That means businesses have to offer a competitive wage to bring them back.

“We want them to earn a good wage,” Brashears said.  “We want them to be successful. We want them to have those things as an opportunity.”

For that reason, Brashears said, the minimum wage increase is already factored into next year’s budget, and he doesn’t plan on raising prices at the theater in 2014.

“Some places might limit hours or the number of people that they bring on,” he said. “We’ll do that to some degree but we’ll probably just get some people to work a little bit more.”

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