States boost minimum wage
Nearly one million U.S. workers are starting the new year with more money in their paychecks, thanks to minimum wage increases in 10 states. The changes mean that 19 states and the District of Columbia will have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage, according to the Pew Center on the States.
Nine states will adjust wages this year to accommodate rising costs of living, as required by state laws. Rhode Island, meanwhile, will raise minimum wages under a new law approved last year.
The new increases range between 10 cents and 35 cents per hour. That will boost the average affected worker’s annual pay by $190 to $510.
The states all will have minimum wages above the federal level of $7.25 per hour, about $15,000 per year for a full-time worker. That rate, unadjusted for inflation, has been in effect since 2009.
Other states, including New Jersey and California, are considering minimum wage hikes. Supporters say raising minimum wages helps boost overall pay and spur more spending in the larger economy. Opponents say the wage hikes increase employers’ costs and reduce jobs. A 2010 study of restaurant workers salaries found “no detectable employment losses” from minimum wage increases, according to the Review of Economics and Statistics.
States boosting the minimum wage this year include:
- Arizona, new wage, $7.80
- Colorado, $7.78
- Florida, $7.79
- Missouri, $7.35
- Montana, $7.80
- Ohio, $7.85
- Oregon, $8.95
- Rhode Island, $7.75
- Vermont, $8.60
- Washington, $9.19