New Mexico saw the biggest jump in the minimum wage, while other states have not seen an increase at all.
The United States federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has not been raised since the year 2009. Therefore, states are taking matters into their own hands. Starting January 1, 20 states in the country will raise their minimum wage to guarantee their lowest-paid workers a fair income. While not all of these states come close to doubling the existing minimum wage, many have bumped up the figure by large percentages in order to adjust for cost-of-living gains. Additionally, although some of these state increases were set in place much earlier, they have become particularly important given the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, CNN reports.
Ken Jacobs, chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California-Berkeley, stated, "We have lots of low-wage, service workers who are working through the Covid crisis, many of whom are in jobs with a greater risk of transmission. This will be a very welcome boost for them. As well, a lot of families are struggling right now in this crisis." With this in mind, here are the 20 states that will get a boost in their minimum wage in the year 2021. New Mexico will experience the largest jump, from $9 to $10.50, an increase of $1.50. Meanwhile, California will have the highest minimum wage, at $14.
Although over a dozen states will raise their minimum wage in the upcoming year, 20 other states will continue to have a minimum wage either equal to or below the federal level. The highest minimum wages were seen in the year 1968. At the time, the level was $1.60, which would be worth about $12 if calculated for value in the present day. Now perhaps more than ever before in the recent past, it is important to increase minimum wages as workers lose bargaining power during an economic downturn such as the one the United States is currently experiencing. According to Ben Zipperer, an economist at the progressive think tank Economic Policy Institute, workers have little bargaining power and employers are able to keep wages low.
Today is the last day of 2020 so you should know that if the minimum wage had increased at the rate of productivity since 1960, it would be $22.50. Instead, it’s $7.25.— Joe Sanberg (@JosephNSanberg) December 31, 2020
That's $15.25 per hour that's disappeared from the pockets of low income workers the past 60 years...
Minimum wage workers, who are typically younger and predominantly have jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector, have welcomed the move. These sectors have also been some of the most affected by the public health crisis. This is mainly due to social distancing measures that have triggered the closure of restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues. As housing and food insecurity rises, low-income workers, particularly women, have been hit the hardest. Despite this, businesses have tried to push back on the minimum wage increases.
We can’t go back to “normal” after this pandemic. Normal was record profits for Big Pharma; crushing student loan debt and a housing crisis; $7.25/hour federal minimum wage. We must instead come together to create a new normal that allows working families to thrive.— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) December 31, 2020
In the state of New York, for instance, members of the state Senate Republican Conference tried to persuade Governor Andrew Cuomo to stop the increase. Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt said in a statement earlier this month, "We do not want our small businesses to make the difficult choice of laying off workers or closing their doors because this becomes the final straw during the financial fragility of the pandemic." Nonetheless, the Governor affirmed that the minimum wage increase was unlikely to harm the state's labor market recovery. Meanwhile, minimum wage workers in states like Michigan for example will simply have to wait.
If you think raising the minimum wage is important, there's a great way you can help. Please DONATE here: https://t.co/Kcu9EGtbKb to help us advocate, organize and publicize strong business support FOR state and federal #RaisetheWage— Business for Fair MinWage (@MinimumWageBiz) December 29, 2020
👏Thank you! pic.twitter.com/5TWeh5o139