More than 4 million low-wage workers started out the new year with a pay hike.
Minimum wages in 19 states went up on January 1, adding more than $4.2 billion in additional wages, according to an analysis by the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute. In seven of these states, the increases were modest — just 5 to 10 cents — the result of inflation indexing as measured by the federal Consumer Price Index.
But in the 12 states where wage increases came about through voter approved ballot measures or legislation, minimum wage workers received a significant jump overnight in hourly earnings: anywhere from 40 cents in Michigan and 50 cents in California, to a whopping $1.95 in Arizona. In most of these states, wages will also continue to increase annually.
States with minimum wage increases
(includes Oregon and Maryland, where wages will increase in July)
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum, which has stayed at $7.25 since 2009. Additionally, 35 localities — including Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and several other cities in the Bay Area — have minimum wages well above their state’s rate.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both supported a significant raise in the the federal minimum wage, a proposal that most Republican leaders oppose. With President-elect Donald Trump unlikely to support any increase, the federal minimum is probably not going to change anytime soon, leaving future wage increases up to the states.