Residents of Washington State are making a little bit more money this year, as the state raised its minimum wage by 37 cents to $9.04, making it the first state to have a minimum wage above $9 an hour. They joined seven other states that raised minimum wage effective January 1st, though none of the others hit $9.
Washington is one of 10 states that tie minimum wage to inflation, alongside Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont, all of who raised their state minimum wage. Missouri opted to wait to wait on a minimum wage adjustment, and Nevada's minimum wage will change midyear. In these states, minimum wage increases whenever cost of living does.
Some people look at these numbers and say, 'How much of a difference can an extra 37 cents an hour make?' Doug Hall, director of the EPI's Economic Analysis and Research Network, said to The New American. But the truth is that for folks who are making that small an amount of money, it makes a lot of difference.
Not everyone is a proponent of the raise, however. Michael Saltsman, research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute, in Washington, D.C., told The Wall Street Journal When you raise the price of something, including entry-level labor, you're going to decrease demand for it.
Arindrajit Dube, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, told the New American that he doesn't agree with that, saying that there is no evidence of any loss of employment or hours for the type of minimum-wage changes we have seen in the US in the last 20 years.
The Economic Policy Institute estimated that this minimum wage increase will result in more spending, and inject $366 million into the economy of the states that implemented the raise, and more than 3,000 jobs will be created.
Federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have wages above the minimum, and 23 states match the minimum. Georgia, Arkansas, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico all have minimum wages set below the federal minimum, but most workers are covered by the national law.