by Tim Becker
The new year is starting off with a bang for many workers in several states. There are 18 states increasing the minimum wage for some 4.5 million workers across the country in 2018. Such increases can be largely attributed to legislation or ballot measures approved by voters. This is a real treat for workers in any one of these states since the federal minimum wage rate hasn’t been increased since 2009.
Although the federal minimum wage has remained stagnant for several years, there are 29 states mandating higher wages than the federal minimum. The good news for workers who are located in one of the 18 states is that they will benefit from a process of gradual wage increases that will ultimately total $12 or $15 per hour, depending on the state.
Recent data suggests that the cost of living will increase so much so that a worker will need to earn $15 per hour by 2024. And that is just to cover the basic costs of living. So these states are certainly taking a step in the right direction and helping minimum wage workers around the country.
Minimum wage increases certainly benefit everyone because it helps the economy. However, studies suggest women are the primary beneficiaries of such increases because they make up the majority of minimum wage workers. Some states, such as North Dakota and Alabama, have a minimum wage workforce where women occupy 75 percent of that workforce. For those who are seeing an increase in their pay because of the state-mandated increases, this is certainly an improvement. Not only will the wage increase help countless individuals and families, but it will also be great for the economy of those states that have enacted such minimum wage laws. We can only hope the federal minimum wage rate will increase and be in-line with state rates, boosting the economy nationwide.