Costco raises the bar for Quad-City wages

September 4, 2018

Several department faculty members were interviewed for a Quad-City Times story on how the new Costco wholesale store opening in Davenport raised its hourly starting wage this year to $14, nearly twice the minimum wage.

“A lot of businesses are currently finding out you can’t get good help at $7.25 an hour," said economist Dave Swenson. It’s the case especially in metro areas because there’s more demand for a rich diversity of workers. We’re getting those bottom wages bid up.”

“Some other employers could lose good employees or maybe raise wages to keep some of the good workers, but once they’ve hired workers and in a year or two, they won’t be poaching other workers at the same level,” John Winters, economics associate professor, said. “It’s potentially a one-time increase, but then things kind of go back to the previous trend.”

But still, economist Peter Orazem, with Iowa State University, said most Iowa businesses currently pay more than the minimum wage. He said the fraction of workers earning the minimum wage is between 1 and 2 percent.

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