By Niraj Chokshi
The minimum wage rose in 20 states and the District of Columbia on Thursday, as laws and automatic adjustments are made with the start of the new year. 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, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. Two more states — Delaware and Minnesota — will get legislatively driven hikes later in the year, while New York raised its minimum wage on Dec. 31. Twenty-nine states will have minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25.
The size of the hikes range from 12 cents in Florida to $1.25 in South Dakota. Among those states hiking the minimum wage, Washington state’s is highest at $9.47. Oregon’s is next at $9.25., followed by Vermont and Connecticut at $9.15. Massachusetts and Rhode Island now have $9 minimum wages.
Of the states where the minimum wage is rising due to legislative or voter action, five — Alaska, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Vermont — and D.C. also are newly implementing inflation indexing, bringing the number of states that tie future minimum wage hikes to inflation to 15.
The minimum wage hikes will have a direct impact for nearly 2.3 million workers who currently earn less per hour than the new minimum wage. EPI estimates that an additional roughly 900,000 people would be affected indirectly, as employers adjust their payscales upward. (That estimate counts those with hourly wages between the new minimum wage and the new wage plus the size of the hike. In other words, if a minimum wage rises from $8 to $9, EPI assumes everyone currently earning $9 to $10 will be indirectly affected.)
For a complete list of state minimum wages and planned increases, check out this table from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
(CORRECTION, 1:50 p.m.: EPI updated its estimates for how many workers will be affected by minimum wage increases after discovering that an earlier analysis counted those affected by wage hikes implemented this year. That reduction—now reflected in this post—represents a downward revision of about 1.3 million workers. A total of about 3.1 million workers are estimated to be affected.)
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