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Hobby Lobby raises minimum wage to $17 for full-time employees

Hobby Lobby's CEO said the company is happy to be able to provide pay increases to thousands of its employees before the Christmas season begins.

Hobby Lobby announced Monday that it is raising its minimum full-time hourly wage to $17 starting next month. 

The move is effective Oct. 1, the company said

“Because this year has presented so many challenges to our employees, we are very happy that we are able to provide pay increases to thousands of our associates before the Christmas season,” Hobby Lobby founder and CEO, David Green, said in a statement. 

Hobby Lobby said it was one of the first companies to set a nationwide minimum hourly wage above the federal minimum wage in 2009. Since then, the company said it's raised its minimum wages ten times.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, although all but five states have adopted a state minimum wage higher than that.

According to the National Employment Law Project, 20 states raised their minimum wages at the start of 2020 and four more states had increases planned throughout this year.  A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that people who work full-time minimum wage jobs cannot afford a fair market two-bedroom rental home in any state in the U.S.

RELATED: Minimum wage workers can't afford 2-bedroom rent in any state in US, report shows

Hobby Lobby operates 923 stores in 46 states. It describes itself as the "largest privately owned arts-and-crafts retailer in the world." 

Back in April, Hobby Lobby faced criticism for keeping its stores open in defiance of some states' shelter-in-place orders during the coronavirus pandemic. The retailer eventually closed all of its stores and announced in early July that all of its stores had reopened.  

Other major retailers have also been gradually increasing hourly wages for employees. In July, Target bumped its starting wage to $15 an hour. In January, Walmart said it would be testing new higher wages for new hourly positions at 500 of its stores. 

RELATED: Target raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour

RELATED: Walmart tests higher hourly starting wages in 500 stores

Credit: WFMY News 2