Besides, both Florida and Hawaii increased their minimum wages last fall. Another 27 individual cities and counties also raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
The Seattle-Tacoma area has the highest minimum wage in the country at $19.06, but several other cities have minimum wages that are close to that level, and three states (Washington, California, and now Massachusetts) have minimum wages of $15. or more. Washington, DC, also has a minimum wage of $16.10, higher than any state, and is scheduled to rise to $17 an hour on July 1.
The state with the largest minimum wage increase this year was Nebraska, which rose $1.50 to $10.50 an hour. Voters there recently approved a ballot initiative that will increase the minimum wage by $1.50 each year to $15 by 2026, with subsequent adjustments to reflect purchasing power.
While businesses have often opposed minimum wage increases, some have supported the efforts. One group, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, is pushing for a $15 federal minimum wage by 2025.
The increases also result in lower employee turnover, higher productivity and better customer service, he said.
Others argue that minimum wage increases further increase inflation by increasing costs to employers and may lead some companies to reduce hours or cut other benefits their workers receive.
Meanwhile, several states have increases scheduled for the end of this year, according to Companies for a Fair Minimum Wage, including:
- Connecticut, which will increase its minimum wage to $15 on June 1, indexed annually beginning January 1, 2024
- Nevada, which will increase to $11.25 for employers that do not offer qualifying health insurance and $10.25 for those that do, effective July 1; voters also recently approved increasing the Nevada minimum wage for all employers to $12 on July 1, 2024
- Oregon, which is scheduled to raise its minimum wage with a cost-of-living increase on July 1
- Florida, which will raise its minimum wage to $12 on September 30, then $1 a year until 2026, when it will hit $15; subsequent increases will be indexed to the cost of living.