The future of the federal minimum wage rate is anybody’s guess right now. It remains $7.25 per hour, with no real clear path forward, although many pundits expect it to eventually rise. For now, though, 2018 brought minimum wage hikes in more than three dozen states and cities. That includes 18 states where the lowest wage workers got a pay boost starting New Year’s Day.


Thanks to a 50-cent increase to $11.50 per hour, Washington now has the highest statewide minimum in the nation. A ballot measure approved by voters in 2016 also ensures that the wage will increase to $13.50 per hour over the next three years. This breaks down like this: $12 in 2019; $13.50 in 2020. In SeaTac, home to Seattle’s international airport, the minimum wage increased to $15.64 January 1. It increased to $15.45 in Seattle.


The largest increase took place in Maine. The rate went from $9 per hour to $10, or an 11 percent increase. Voters have also approved a ballot measure to ensure that wage rates hit $12 per hour by 2020. It will be $11 per hour in 2019.


The Centennial State’s minimum wage increased from $9.30 per hour to $10.20 per hour. This is expected to rise to $11.10 next year and $12 per hour the following.


Minimum wage increased to $10:10 per hour from $9.25 per hour.


As you might expect, California underwent some nuanced changes. The current $10.50 per hour increased to $11 per hour, with the oft-mentioned $15 in sight for 2022. In some cities, the boosts will be even more pronounced. In Mountain View and Sunnyvale, workers got a $2 increase to $15. Cupertino, El Cerrito, Palo Alto, San Jose, Los Altos, and San Mateo workers are now earning at least $13.50 per hour.


Arizona is on its way to $12 per hour by 2020 with a 50-cent increase to $10.50 this year. It’s going to go up another 50 cents in 2019.


Minimum wage increased to $9.25 from $8.90.

New York City:

Like California, the Big Apple has some creative changes in store. Employers of 11 or more people upped the rate to $13 per hour. Smaller business are required to pay $12 per hour. The rate is expected to hit $15 next year. Long Island and Westchester boosted rates to $11.

New York:

Minimum wage increased for most of the state to $10.40 per hour from $9.70. It’s on pace to hit $12.50 by 2020. Cost of living increases could also get the rate up to $15 per hour by then.


Vermont upped minimum wage from $10 per hour to $10.50.

Rhode Island:

Rhode Island increased the rate to $10.10 from $9.60 with $10.50 on the books for 2019.

Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Montana, and New Jersey are all increasing the rate by less than 50 cents.

The federal minimum wage rate has stayed at $7.25 since 2009. Most of these changes are thanks to legislation or recent voter-approved ballot measures. According to the Economic Policy Institute, about 4.5 million workers around the country will be affected by the increases.

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