Hobby Lobby raises minimum wage to $18.50/hr

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A Hobby Lobby store is seen in Vernon Hills, Ill., Saturday, April 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

(NEXSTAR) – Hobby Lobby is the latest to announce an increase to its minimum hourly wage for employees, joining a growing trend amid rising inflation. The retailer’s jump to more than $18 moves it ahead of others like Walmart.

Effective January 1, 2022, Hobby Lobby’s full-time hourly wage will climb from $15 – a rate they set in 2014 – to $18.50. Over the last 13 years, the national chain has raised its minimum wage 12 times.

“We have a long track record of taking care of our employees,” says Hobby Lobby founder and CEO, David Green. “In 1998, we made the decision to close our stores on Sundays, and at 8:00 p.m. the rest of the week, to provide employees time for rest, family, and worship. We’ve also worked hard over the years to provide the best pay and benefits in retail, which has allowed us to attract and retain an outstanding group of associates to serve our devoted customers.”

In the fall of 2020, the arts and crafts retailer moved its minimum wage for full-time hourly staff to $17. Hobby Lobby’s latest increase pushes the employer ahead of other retailers like Costco, which recently increased its starting wage to $17 in its second pay bump in 2021, and Target, which has a $15 minimum wage.

The federal minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25, a rate that hasn’t been raised since 2009.

These pay increases come as inflation remains high in the U.S., with consumer prices rising 6.8%, a 39-year high, for the 12 months ending in November. Many economists expect inflation to remain near this level a few more months but to then moderate through 2022 for a variety of reasons. And they don’t see a repeat of the 1970s or early 1980s, when inflation ran above 10% for frighteningly long stretches.

Additionally, employers are also facing the “Great Resignation,” a trend of people not only being pushed out of work by layoffs but quitting of their own volition.

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