It seems that the new year will bring with it good tidings – at least for the 20 states in the U.S. with an increase in the hourly rate of minimum wage paid to millions of working people.
In the U.S. the minimum rate, according to federal law has been $7.25 per hour since 2009. However, after the new wages go into effect at the start of 2015, 29 states as well as the District of Columbia will have it higher than that, with Washington taking the lead at $9.47 per hour.
Currently, the minimum wage affects the buying power of millions of working Americans as demonstrated in this graphic:
See how the federal minimum wage’s buying power varies across the U.S. pic.twitter.com/VVH7BTMW8S— St. Louis Fed (@stlouisfed) December 22, 2014
The issue of minimum wage is a pressing concern for many struggling people who are simply trying to make ends meet. In October, Reuters highlighted the story of Delores Leonard, a single mother with two daughters who has been working at McDonald's for 7 years with no increase in her salary.
Stop complaining when fast food places mess up your order. You literally handed someone making minimum wage one dollar for meat.— Michelle Beeler (@Michelle_OKC) December 23, 2014
It’s a difficult rut to get out of, as the economy becomes more and more competitive while the cost of living a decent life becomes increasingly more expensive.
Did you know there is no state in the U.S. where a 40-hour minimum wage work week is enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment— OurSecretHouse.com (@OURSECRETHOUSE) December 22, 2014
These changes are expected to affect 3.1 million workers in the country, according to one report, and 4.4 million according to another. Wal-Mart stores have already issued statements saying that these changes would prompt the adjustment of base salaries in 1,434 of its stores, or one-third of its U.S. locations.
For nine of these states, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Washington, the increases are the result of a routine indexation from inflation.
The increase for the 11 other states, are due to changes in minimum wage laws – which is a good thing because it shows that people are making changes they want.
However, it’s predicted that the Democrats, who have campaigned for pushing a higher minimum federal wage, are likely to be hindered by the Republican control of Congress next year.
Nevertheless, this is a milestone because after Jan. 1, 60 percent of all U.S. workers will earn aminimum wage above the federal rate of $7.25 per hour.
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