Millions of workers nationwide could be in line for a pay rise next year, with half of US states planning to increase their minimum wages by 2024.
The increases would raise the base wage to at least $16 an hour in three states: California, New York and Washington. In 22 states, the new minimum wages will take effect on January 1. However, Nevada and Oregon’s new rates will go into effect on July 1st, while Florida’s will increase on September 30th.
On the contrary. workers in 20 states will still be subject to the federal minimum wage, which hasan hour since 2009, when it was last increased.
Raising the minimum wage could benefit low-wage workers at a time when many continue to struggle with higher costs due to inflation, although it is cooling quickly after reaching a 40-year high in 2022. Although price increases are slowing, spending on groceries , rents and other goods and services remain higher than before the pandemic.
About 1 in 4 American workers earned less than $15 an hour in 2021, according to to the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. People of color and women are overrepresented among these low-wage workers, it added.
Raising the minimum wage is both good for workers and the overall economy, said Holly Sklar, executive director of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, a group that advocates for higher base wages.
Low-wage workers getting pay raises “increase the consumption that businesses depend on,” she said in a statement. “While the federal minimum wage falls further and further behind with the cost of living at just $7.25 an hour, state increases are critical to workers, businesses and communities.”
Federal minimum wage 2024
The latest increases widen the gap between states raising their minimum wages and those that remain dependent on the federal base wage of $7.25 an hour.
In fact, workers in six states — California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Washington — will be guaranteed base wages that are more than double the federal minimum wage.
Some cities will also raise their minimum wages above the national level next year. Denver, for example, will raise the city’s minimum wage toon Jan. 1, topping Colorado’s rate of $14.42 an hour.
The 20 states where the base wage remains at $7.25 an hour are primarily located in the South and Midwest, ranging from Alabama to Wisconsin.