Prices rise as the minimum wage increases in several states


Millions of American workers will see pay raises in the new year due to minimum-wage increases in 20 states and 21 cities.

OH voters approved the annual adjustments in a 2006 constitutional amendment.

For some NY workers, the final phase of the state's minimum wage increase will take effect on Monday, Dec. 31. "But it's motivated many of them to accept that we need higher minimum wages than we now have in much of the country".

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour hasn't gone up in a decade.

The increases run the gamut from 5 cents an hour in Alaska, which tied its minimum wage to inflation in 2014, to $1.50 an hour in New York City, where the minimum for most non-service jobs is gradually moving toward $15 an hour.

They said the higher minimum wage led to a 6.9 percent decline in the hours worked for those earning under $19 an hour, resulting in a net reduction in paychecks.

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Eight states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Washington State- are phasing in increases that will eventually put their minimum wages at $12 to $15 an hour, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a nonprofit that advocates for higher minimum wages.

"It's been a long time since we've raised the federal minimum wage, and if Congress isn't going to do it, state lawmakers are feeling compelled to do it, and even local lawmakers", said David Cooper, senior economic analyst at EPI, a left-leaning research group.

The revised enforcement decree of the Minimum Wage Act takes effect starting Tuesday, following its approval by the Cabinet on Monday.

In Missouri and neighboring Arkansas, voters in November overwhelmingly approved a minimum-wage increase, which directly affects about 1 million workers.

Up until a few decades ago, many economists anxious that raising the minimum wage would lead to employers hiring fewer workers. Many states are raising this maximum as well.

"I think the weight of the evidence to date suggests the employment effects from minimum-wage increases in the USA have been pretty small, much smaller than the wage increases", he said.