More money … for some
More than 1 million workers received a raise at the beginning of the year thanks to minimum wage increases in eight states. At the same time, San Francisco became the first location to surpass the $10 an hour mark.
Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington all upped their minimum wage starting Jan. 1. Workers in those eight states will now make between $582 and $770 more per year based on a 40-hour work week. Washington had the largest increase at 37 cents, bringing the wage requirement to $9.04 an hour and making it the highest paying state in the country. Colorado had the smallest increase at 28 cents, bringing the total to $7.64. Eighteen states and Washington have a minimum wage higher than the federal requirement of $7.25.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, more than 1 million workers will directly benefit from the state increases, with almost 400,000 workers anticipated to be indirectly affected through adjusted pay structures. An estimated 80 percent are at least 20 years old, with 78 percent working a minimum of 20 hours per week.
San Francisco also gave its workers a boost to $10.24 an hour from $9.92, effective Jan. 1, making it the highest paying location in the country. The California state minimum wage is $8.00. According to an LA Times article, some employers have said they are concerned about having to lay off workers, however, the city’s unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in November versus the state rate of 11.3 percent.
Because of an ordinance passed by voters in November 2003, the city increases its minimum wage annually based on the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers for the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose metropolitan statistical area from the previous year. “Across the country, take-home pay, adjusted for inflation, has fallen in the last year,” said Office of Labor Standards Enforcement Manager Donna Levitt, in a press release. “Workers in San Francisco are fortunate that our minimum wage is indexed to keep up with inflation.”
To learn more about the minimum wage increases and how stakeholders are responding, view the video below.