Protesters rally outside a restaurant in St. Louis on Feb. 13. The service industry employs the largest percentage of minimum wage workers.
Jeff Curry/Getty Images
As midnight strikes on New Year’s Eve, many minimum wage workers will have an extra reason to celebrate: They’ll be getting a raise.
In 18 states and 20 localities, lawmakers are forcing up the minimum wage on Jan. 1.
For years, a large number of state and local governments have been driving up wages in response to federal inaction. Congress has kept the federal minimum wage at $7.25 an hour since 2009.
If lawmakers in Washington had adjusted the minimum to match inflation as measured by the federal Consumer Price Index, it would be about $8.50 today.
As of New Year’s Day, workers in the following states can expect a round of raises: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington. Those states already meet or exceed the federal minimum wage, so these new raises will push up the bottom even higher. For example, in Ohio, the state minimum wage is $8.15 an hour. After Jan. 1, it will be $8.30.
From Albuquerque, N.M., to Tacoma, Wash., many cities are taking wages to even higher levels than the state minimums. For example, in California, eleven local governments are sending the minimum wage to $13 an hour, or even more. In Mountain View and Sunnyvale, the wage floor will rise to $15.