Minimum Wage in Mexico: What Mexico’s Minimum Wage Increase Means for Manufacturers

The recent increases in Mexico's minimum wage have sparked discussions about how they intersect with competitive manufacturing wages in the country. While the minimum wage adjustments aim to enhance the purchasing power of workers, it's crucial to note that competitive manufacturing wages in Mexico typically surpass the government-mandated minimum. 

Skilled workers in the manufacturing sector often earn significantly more than the minimum wage due to the specialized nature of their roles. For instance, while an unskilled laborer may earn around USD $4.18 per hour, a CNC machinist with specialized training could command an hourly wage of approximately $8.16. 

Therefore, while minimum wage increases may prompt adjustments in some salary rates, they generally do not substantially impact the competitive landscape of manufacturing wages in Mexico. Understanding this distinction is essential for both businesses and employees to navigate the evolving labor market dynamics effectively.

Wage and labor stability are important considerations for every company considering diversifying its manufacturing base. In this post, we will define the new minimum wage in Mexico for 2023, address concerns around it, and help manufacturers understand what to expect around Mexico’s manufacturing labor wages.

Mexico's minimum wage in 2022 vs. 2023

The National Minimum Wage Commission (CONASAMI) agreed to increase the general daily minimum wage as of January 1, 2023, by 20% to $207.44 MXP. This was a significant increase from the 2022 level of $172.87 MXP. Along the Northern Border Zone—a 2,000-mile swath of northern Mexico that stretches roughly 15 miles from the U.S. border—the minimum wage increase of 20% raised the minimum wage at the border to $312.41 MXP. This economic free zone includes 43 cities across six states and the entire state of Baja, California. 

Why is Mexico’s Minimum Wage Increasing?

The 20% increase in the Mexican minimum wage is in line with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s goal of reversing a decades-long slide in Mexican workers’ purchasing power. Critics have expressed apprehension that the steady increases in the minimum wage in Mexico will drive up unemployment or that frequent hikes in the minimum wage will lead to “wage push inflation” as employers raise the prices of goods and services to balance the increases in wages. However, Mexico’s inflation remains stable, according to the Mexican central bank Banxico, suggesting a sustainable trajectory for wage growth.

What Do the Minimum Wage Increases Mean for Manufacturing in Mexico?

It's important to note that the competitive manufacturing wages in Mexico are not equivalent to the minimum wage set by the government. On the contrary, skilled workers in the manufacturing industry earn significantly more than the minimum wage due to the complex nature of their tasks. For instance, an unskilled direct laborer in Mexico can earn an average hourly wage of approximately USD $4.18. However, a CNC machinist who requires specialized training and expertise may earn an hourly wage of around USD $8.16.

Although minimum wage increases may force manufacturers to adjust salary rates for some positions to remain competitive, most will benefit from the increased economic investment in the local area. Additionally, minimum wage increases provide manufacturers with a flexible timeline for implementing regular incremental increases, fostering a stable economic environment that benefits both businesses and employees. Therefore, it's essential for manufacturers to understand the difference between minimum wage and competitive manufacturing wages to make informed decisions and remain competitive in the market.

Competitive wages in Mexico

Law firm JD Supra advises that employers review and adjust payroll practices to comply with the latest increase of salaries in Mexico. Keep in mind that this increase in the minimum rate also has the potential to impact benefits, such as savings funds and food coupons, depending on agreements around those benefits with employees and unions.

Competitive wages are necessary for securing qualified labor anywhere, but most companies manufacturing in Mexico find that even competitive pay is comparatively cost-effective. What’s more, as most corporate executives already recognize, wages are one small—albeit critical—piece of a complete cost analysis and business forecast. 

If you’re ready to get a complete picture of your potential operational costs in Mexico, Tetakawi can provide assistance. Try our online payroll calculator to get a sense of labor costs, or contact Tetakawi for a more complete cost estimation.

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