The economic difficulties of the past several years could be made easier this year, especially among those earning within minimum wage levels. At least 22 states across the United States expect to increase the minimum wage over the next several months.
The District of Columbia, along with seven other states, increased the minimum wage within their jurisdictions to at least $15 or slightly higher. Among those who implemented the increase are Maryland, New Jersey, and parts of New York State.
In the case of New York State, several areas are slated to increase their minimum wage limit to $16 this year, including Long Island, New York City, and Westchester. California has also raised the minimum wage in its jurisdiction to $16, effective January 1st.
It is expected that Washington state will have the highest minimum wage of any state when it hikes wages to $16.28 this year.
For a Better Standard of Living
These changes could not have come at a better time. Since the pandemic first hit, the cost of living globally has increased exponentially and has adversely impacted those working at the minimum wage level.
It is interesting to note, however, that the federal minimum wage in the United States remains at $7.25 and has been there since 2009. 20 states have kept the minimum wage at that level, including Alabama, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.
Labor groups and both state and local governments have fought to increase the minimum wage as such an amount has lost a great deal of buying power over the years.
According to Holly Sklar, chief executive for the advocacy Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, the federal minimum wage should be adjusted for inflation from the $1.60 implemented back in 1968. At today’s rates, that had the buying power of around $14.39; even then, however, adjustments to the minimum wage have done little to keep many people out of poverty.