January 2, 2017 in Career

The 10 states where the minimum wage is highest

Nineteen states welcomed 2017 by raising the minimum wage by as much as $1.95 an hour. They’re among the roughly 30 states that have set a floor for wages above the federal minimum, which has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

President-elect Donald Trump has indicated he’d be OK with increasing the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour. But he says states should take the lead.

See the states where America’s lowest-paid workers earn the most, counting down to the nation’s highest minimum wage.

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Minimum wage: $9.70

New York is on its way to a $15 an hour minimum wage, scheduled to become the rule in New York City at the end of 2018 and reach other areas of the state in later years.

New York has a tiered minimum wage. An increase that took effect as 2016 drew to a close pushed the minimum to $11 an hour in New York City, $10 in its suburbs and $9.70 in the rest of the Empire State.

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Minimum wage: $9.75

Oregon has begun to enact annual, midyear increases in its minimum wage under legislation signed in March 2016 by Gov. Kate Brown. While the state’s “standard” minimum wage is currently $9.75 an hour, “nonurban” counties in eastern and southern Oregon have a lower minimum, currently $9.50 an hour.

Minimum wage: $9.80

The new year has brought Alaska’s minimum-wage earners a 5-cent raise — an annual inflation adjustment that was part of a 2014 ballot measure approved by the state’s voters. Most Alaska residents, including minimum-wage workers, also get some extra money from the state: an annual dividend from an oil-wealth fund. The most recent payments were for $1,022.

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Minimum wage: $10

The Grand Canyon State has been catapulted into the top 10 by Arizona voters, who approved a ballot proposition in November that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour over the course of four years. The first step arrived with 2017 and gave the state’s lowest-paid workers a nearly $2 raise, after business groups failed to block the law from taking effect.

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Minimum wage: $10

2017 has been ushered in with the third of four annual increases that will extend the Green Mountain State’s minimum wage to $10.50 an hour by 2018. Advocacy groups say that’s still not enough to live on, and they’re calling for a new effort to raise Vermont’s minimum wage to at least $15. But the state’s new Republican governor, Phil Scott, says employers can’t afford that.

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Minimum wage: $10.10

The lowest-paid workers in Connecticut received a 5.2 percent raise to start 2017, as the state’s minimum wage went from $9.60 to $10.10 per hour in the last of a series of increases called for in a 2014 law. Gov. Dannel Malloy says Connecticut was the first state to pass legislation establishing a $10.10 minimum wage. “This is a modest increase that will give working families a boost while also having stimulative economic effects,” the Democrat said in a news release.

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Minimum wage: $10.50

The nation’s most populous state bumped up its minimum by 50 cents an hour to launch the new year, under a law passed last April that’s scheduled to gradually lift the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2022. A number of California cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, plan to reach that mark before the state does.

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Minimum wage: $11

Massachusetts has been steadily increasing its minimum wage by $1 a year; the latest raise took effect as 2017 arrived. However, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor has calculated that a full-time worker needs to earn at least $12.60 per hour to live in the Bay State. A coalition of community organizations, labor unions and religious groups called Raise Up Massachusetts is proposing the phasing-in of a $15 minimum.

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Minimum wage: $11

After holding steady at just under $9.50 an hour for a couple of years, Washington state’s minimum wage has jumped to $11 an hour for 2017, thanks to a voter-approved measure.

Further annual increases will take the rate to $13.50 by 2020. Seattle plans to go well above the state requirement and is in the process of boosting its minimum wage in phases toward an eventual $15 an hour.

Minimum wage: $11.50

The nation’s capital is home not only to the highest offices in the land but also to the highest minimum wage of any U.S. state or territory, now at $11.50 per hour. Under a local law, annual midyear increases will take the district’s hourly minimum to $15 by 2020.

Government officials in Washington earn far more, of course. The president is paid $400,000 a year.

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