Where minimum wages are the highest (and lowest)
On July 1, the minimum wage will increase in Oregon, Maryland and Washington, D.C. – but California will still have fourth-highest minimum wage in the country.
The District of Columbia pays minimum wage workers the most – $12.50 per hour, as of July 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Nineteen states increased their minimum wages at the beginning of 2017.
Two states – New York and Oregon – have adopted wage minimums based on geography, with higher wages required in metro areas.
The California minimum wage, currently $10.50 for workers at companies with 26 or more employees, will rise 50 cents on Jan. 1, 2018.
The state’s minimum wage will rise a dollar each year after that until it gets to $15 an hour in 2022. The governor can temporarily suspend the increases under certain economic or budgetary conditions. After 2022, the minimum wage will be indexed to inflation.
The current minimum wage for employees at California firms with 25 or fewer employees is $10 per hour, and those employers will not have to pay $15 per hour until 2023.
A full-time minimum-wage worker in California makes $21,840 dollars per year. A 50-cent increase translates to an extra $1,040 per year.
Researchers at UC Berkeley estimated that increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour would affect 5.6 million Californians, raising their average annual income by $3,700. In the Sacramento region, they estimated more than 350,000 workers would be affected by the higher wage.
California first enacted a minimum wage – 16 cents per hour – in 1916. That amount would have the purchasing power of $3.58 today. The purchasing power of the state’s minimum wage in today’s dollars peaked at $11.55 in 1968.
City and county increases
Smaller areas that are raising the minimum wage on July 1, 2017:
- Montgomery County, Maryland: From $10.75 to $11.50.
- Chicago: From $10.50 to $11. It plans to increase the minimum wage to $13 by 2019.
- Cook County, Illinois: Increases to $10. It will reach $13 by 2020.
- Unincorporated Los Angeles County: Increases from $10.50 to $12.
- Pasadena: From $10.50 to $12 for companies with 26 or more employees.