The New Year brings good news for many low-wage workers. Big and small states are raising minimum wages. Some of the states have raised wages by a few cents an hour. Others state’s wages went up by a dollar or more.
A number of states are planning increases for 2016 and 2017. Some states are tying the minimum wage to the cost of living.
This chart shows what is happening around the country.
The federal government has a minimum wage standard. It has not risen since 2007. It is $7.25 an hour. Based on inflation, it should be $10.00. President Obama said it should be $10.10 an hour. Republicans control the new Congress. Most experts say they will not pass a higher minimum wage.
A big question is whether higher wages will result in fewer jobs. Business groups say if employers have to pay higher wages, they will find a way to reduce the number of jobs. Reduction may be made by automation. Employers may simply find ways to make do with fewer workers.
Some big companies, like Walmart and Target, say a higher minimum wage will not change the way they do business.
Many experts say higher wages will put more money into the economy. This will offset the loss of any jobs. This will not comfort people who lost jobs.
Workers think higher wages will improve their lives. Many households have to think about every dollar they spend. A few dollars more each day can make a difference.
The movement to raise the minimum wage is growing. It is part of a national concern about how families can make ends meet.
Source: The New York Times December 31, 2014
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