For private enterprise, the minimum wage can be a tool to ensure a sufficient local labor pool if it’s higher than the state next door. Living in a border city provides opportunities for residents to access better paying jobs in a state with a higher minimum wage, while taking advantage of lower living costs in the neighboring state.
Commuting patterns can be analyzed using Census Bureau data. Idaho’s western border sees significant movement between labor markets with Washington and Oregon. Although Montana, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah are contiguous to Idaho, there are no major industry sites on those borders.
In the case of the minimum wage, Idaho and Utah are the only states among the seven with minimum wages at the federal level – $7.25 an hour. The others are among the 29 states with higher minimum wages.