21 May 2008

American Samoa businesses expect to struggle to cope with wage hikes

9:53 am on 21 May 2008

American Samoa's Chamber of Commerce says many businesses will really struggle to cope with the next 50 cent minimum wage hike.

American Samoa and the CNMI will be affected by hikes in the the minimum wage that is currently $3.55 an hour.

That will rise in 50 cent increments until it reaches the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

Chamber president David Robinson says the economic climate is already tough.

"It has all the ingredients really to be or have a really severe impact on the local economy...at a time when you'd be aware that costs generally - food stuffs of some of the basic items, sea freight - on which we rely on very heavily, gasoline and those other costs like that, and electricity are all escalating at a very very rapid rate. And here we are with another cost that will very severely impact on businesses in the territory."