A handful of states have already announced increases in their minimum wage rates. The bumps range between 28 and 37 cents. Several other states are expected to follow suit soon.
Every year, 10 states are required by law to adjust their minimum wage rates to keep pace with inflation: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
So far, five of those states have announced their 2012 minimum wage increases:
- Colorado’s will jump 28 cents to $7.64
- Montana’s will jump 30 cents to $7.65
- Ohio’s will jump 30 cents to $7.70
- Oregon’s will jump 30 cents to $8.80, and
- Washington’s will jump 37 cents to $9.04.
Arizona, Florida and Vermont are expected to announce increases in the coming weeks.
Washington’s wage of $9.04 is the highest in the country, and its 37-cent boost amounts to a $770 raise for those earning the state minimum.
The federal minimum wage stands at $7.25, or just over $15,000 for those full-time workers earning it. Overall, 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, have minimum wage rates higher than the federal rate.
Incomes falling overall
The wage increases will be good news for many individuals, but overall the pay picture in the U.S. is getting bleaker.
The Census Bureau has announced median household income fell 2.3% to $49,445 last year, when adjusted for inflation — a level not seen since 1996. That figure amounts to a 7% drop since 2000.
A report over at Time Magazine’s Moneyland says minimum wage earners are making less in real money (after adjusting for inflation) than those earning the base rate in 1968.
According to the report, those making minimum wage in 1968 were making $1.60, the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $10.42. That’s $1.38 more than Washington’s new minimum wage.