Minimum- and low-wage workers in 21 states and the District of Columbia celebrated not just the New Year this week, but higher wages as well.
Twenty states and the District of Columbia hiked minimum wages Thursday. New York raised its minimum wage a day earlier, and “two more states — Delaware and Minnesota — will get legislatively driven hikes later in the year,” reported The Washington Post.
“After these increases are implemented, 29 states — 60 percent of all U.S. workers — will have minimum wage above the federal rate of $7.25 per hour,” wrote Fortune.
By one estimate by the Economic Policy Institute, the wage increase will affect about 4.4 million minimum- and low-wage workers, reported BusinessWeek.
“The increases will lift the hourly wages of 2.4 million workers by up to $1 to an average of $8 and a high of $9.15. The federal hourly minimum is $7.25,” wrote USA Today.
“In nine states, the hike will be automatic, an adjustment made to keep the minimum wage in line with rising inflation. But in 11 states and D.C., the rise is the result of legislative action or voter-approved referenda,” The Washington Post reported.
Some big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago are raising minimum wages above their state minimums, according to The Los Angeles Times. Critics of a higher the minimum wage told The Times the hike will hurt businesses that have to raise prices, lay off employees or relocate them to cover costs and avoid losing customers to surrounding suburbs.
If a higher minimum wage is successful on the state and local levels, however, it will fuel support for a nationwide increase to the federal floor.
The Post article included a list of state minimum wages and planned increases from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
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