Friday, October 17, 2014

Four states to vote on minimum wage hikes; nearly half of states are above federal rate

Nowhere in the U.S. can a single-income household afford a decent one-bedroom residence by working a 40-hour week at minimum wage, The Washington Post reported in April. But things could be changing for low-income workers, with at least 10 states and Washington D.C. having passed minimum wage increases this year, while voters in Alaska, Nebraska, South Dakota and Arkansas can approve minimum wage increases in November, Niraj Chokshi reports for the Post.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but 23 states and Washington D.C. have set higher minimums, Chokshi writes. Alaska is considering raising its rate to $9.75 by 2016, Nebraska to $9 in 2016, South Dakota to $8.50 in 2015 and Arkansas to $8.50 in 2017. "Illinois voters will give their opinion on a hike to $10 in 2015, though that measure is not binding."

"Even without voter approval or further legislative action, the minimum wage is set to change in at least a dozen states and D.C. over the next few years," Chokshi writes. "Four states will see their minimum wages rise to at least $9 an hour early next year, joining Washington, Oregon and California. By early 2016, two states—Massachusetts and California—will breach a $10-minimum-wage mark. By early 2017, Massachusetts will have an $11 minimum wage." (Read more) (State Economic Monitor map from its quarterly appraisal of state economic conditions)

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