If you're among the country's lowest earners, you may be ringing in the new year with a pay hike.
Fourteen states will be raising their minimum wages with the arrival of 2016, according to an analysis of state laws by Yannet Lathrop of the National Employment Law Project. The raises will range from a nickel an hour in South Dakota to a full dollar in California and Massachusetts. The latter states will be the first in the nation with a $10 wage floor.
Graphic by Alissa Scheller
- Alaska: $8.75 to $9.75
- Arkansas: $7.50 to $8.00
- California: $9.00 to $10.00
- Colorado: $8.23 to $8.31
- Connecticut: $9.15 to $9.60
- Hawaii: $7.75 to $8.50
- Massachusetts: $9.00 to $10.00
- Michigan: $8.15 to $8.50
- Nebraska: $8.00 to $9.00
- New York: $8.75 to $9.00*
- Rhode Island: $9.00 to $9.60
- South Dakota: $8.50 to $8.55
- Vermont: $9.15 to $9.60
- West Virginia: $8.00 to $8.75*
*New York and West Virginia will raise their minimum wages on New Year's Eve, rather than New Year's Day.
The minimum wage will be raised even higher in New York for fast food workers -- to $10.50 in New York City, and $9.75 in the rest of the state, thanks to a move by the state's wage board. The District of Columbia and three states -- Maryland, Minnesota and Nevada -- will be raising their wage floors later in 2016.
The idea of hiking the minimum wage tends to have broad support among the American public, including in traditionally red states. Voters and legislators in states around the country have passed their own raises in recent years. In fact, so many hikes have been enacted that a majority of states now have a higher minimum wage than the federal level of $7.25 per hour. (The federal rate prevails in the 21 states that don't mandate a higher one.)
Many states automatically adjust their wage floors each year according to a consumer price index. There would have been more raises set for 2016 if not for the slow rate of inflation. Eight states that index their minimum wages -- Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Washington -- won't be raising them at all this coming year. (Several other states that index will still be raising them; it all depends on how a particular state measures the rising cost of living.)
Many cities and counties have been even more aggressive than their statehouses in setting a higher minimum wage. Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as a handful of smaller cities on the West Coast, all are gradually phasing in a $15 minimum wage. Meanwhile, several cities and states have enacted $15 minimum wage laws specifically for public-sector and government-contract workers.
The federal minimum wage, on the other hand, hasn't moved since 2009, when it rose from $6.55 to $7.25. That increase was part of a series of hikes signed into law by President George W. Bush. Democrats in Congress have put forth a variety of proposals in recent sessions, included a $12 plan with indexing, but Republicans, who control both chambers, have declined to give any of them a vote.
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