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New report ranks Austin as the No. 3 worst city for minimum wage earners

After ranking the 75 largest cities in the U.S., two Texas cities made top three worst cities for minimum wage earners.

AUSTIN, Texas — According to a recent Move.org report, Austin is the third worst city for minimum wage earners out of the 75 largest cities in the U.S. 

Plano, Texas, came in second, and Atlanta, Georgia, ranked first for least affordable for minimum wage workers. Ranked as the most affordable is Bakersfield, California.

The minimum wage in Texas is $7.25 an hour. The report also showed the median price for a one-bedroom apartment in Austin is $1,186 a month.

Electrician Sabrina Mota just moved to Austin from Corpus Christi. She said living in an apartment is affordable for her, but buying a home in this market is out of the question. For minimum wage workers, affording an apartment alone is out of the question. 

"It was a couple of hundred more bucks to live here, but here it is a one-bedroom, but in Corpus, it was a two-bedroom," said Mota.

The report detailed that minimum wage earners would need to work 164.4 hours a month, which is a little over two full-time paychecks, to afford a one-bedroom apartment. This doesn't include all the other costs of living, like groceries and gas.

Texas Workforce Solutions said over the past 30 days, all wages it has seen in Austin have been over minimum wage. There were a few at $7.30 an hour, but the rest were $9 an hour or above. 

"Even at $9, if you work 50 hours a week, you would not be able to afford an apartment," said Aaron Jones.

Jones is part of the Texas Service Industry Coalition, working to form a union for restaurant workers. He said if the State doesn't increase the minimum wage, unions are the only way. 

"I hope we can, you know, organize, have people able to advocate for themselves in the workplace practices a little more, like self-determination, be able to win higher wages, health insurance, these things that allow for a dignified life," said Jones.

We asked Austin City Councilmember Greg Casar about his stance on raising the minimum wage. This is his statement: 

"This poor ranking could be addressed quickly: the Texas Legislature could lift the ban on minimum wage increases. Then, Austin could set a minimum wage of $15 per hour. Instead, State officials are keeping wages as low as possible and banning City leaders from setting a living wage. We've done what's allowed under state law: I championed a $15 per hour wage for City employees and contractors, and we passed it. It's time for state lawmakers to actually do something to raise wages for working Texans, or get out of the way."


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