This Week more than 3 Million Americans will get Pay Raises Thanks to New Minimum Wage Laws

Friday, January 02, 2015
(AP graphic)

The New Year will bring larger paychecks for about three million American workers earning minimum wage across the United States.

 

The increases are a result of changes adopted in 20 states, either through legislative action by lawmakers or voter-approved initiatives that occurred in 2014 or in previous years. It’s the greatest number of states to enact such increases of any time in the history of the country, reported The Boston Globe. It will also be the first time that a majority of states will have a minimum wage that is above the federal rate of $7.25 an hour.

 

Nine minimum wage bumps are “routine,” according to the think tank Economic Policy Institute, because of state provisions requiring adjustments for inflation. Those nine are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington.

 

The other 11, produced by state laws or ballot measures, are in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia.

 

New York State also raised its minimum wage, effective December 31, 2014.

 

Still two more states—Delaware and Minnesota—will have their increases go into effect later in 2015, adding another 500,000 workers getting raises.

 

Some increases are very modest, like in Florida where it’s only 12 cents. Employees in South Dakota will enjoy a $1.25 jump.

 

“All told, these increases will provide workers with $1.6 billion in additional wages over the course of the year,” David Cooper wrote at the Economic Policy Institute.

 

Meanwhile, he adds, the federal minimum wage will continue to stay at $7.25 an hour, which is “too low” considering the cost of living has made this amount “roughly 23 percent less than it was worth in the late 1960s.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

20 States Raise Their Minimum Wages While the Federal Minimum Continues to Erode (by David Cooper, Economic Policy Institute)

Minimum Wage Rates for 2015 (by Alison Doyle, About.com)

Minimum Wage Rising in Much of US (by Katie Johnston, Boston Globe)

New State Minimum Wage Laws will Force Walmart to Raise Salaries in 1/3 of Stores (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Feds Find “Alarming” Minimum-Wage Violations in California and New York (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Minimum Wage, Factoring for Inflation, is Lower than in 1956 (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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