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The Great Resignation & the hourly wage
Glenn Mollette
Glenn Mollette

A young adult lady in Johnson County, Kentucky was recently faithfully working her convenient store register job. She had a line of patrons buying drinks and paying for gasoline. Someone asked her how much money she made? “Nine dollars an hour,” she said. “I’ve worked here over two years and the pay has been $9 an hour. I’ve asked for a raise. I work hard. I’m here almost all the time. A manager from the chain of stores always says, “We are looking into it.” She said, “I have to find another job because I can’t take care of myself and my children on $9 an hour.”

A patron in line who was only buying a cup of coffee with a $20 bill took the cash she had just handed him in change and said to her, “Please take this and buy some lunch today.” The lady said, “Uh, no, I don’t want that,” but the man insisted and she accepted it with tears coming from her eyes. “Thank you, thank you so much she said to the man. I’ve never had anybody to do anything like this for me in my life.”

It was good to see a random act of kindness but the episode was a real case scenario of how hard life is for many Americans just like this lady, working for low hourly wages. 

On Jan. 5, the U.S. Department of Labor released its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS), revealing that the number of resignations reached 4.5 million in November. The number increased by 370,000, matching September’s quit rate record high of three percent — indicating that the Great Resignation isn’t showing signs of stopping.

Will the Johnson County lady quit her Job? She will, if she can find a better paying one. Unfortunately, in this area of the country that’s not easy to do. She may have to move in order to make more money. Many employers across the country have had to raise what they are offering in order to find and keep good employees. Thus, many of the Americans who did quit their jobs in November did so because of the lure of better pay in other places.

In Kentucky the federal minimum wage is $7.25. It’s the same wage for many other states but some are doing much better.  However, you can’t go by the state minimum. You have to find the right employer who is paying what will make you happy and determine what it will require of you to be an employee. 

Dr. Glenn Mollette is an author and his column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states.