Democrats have introduced bills three times to increase the minimum wage in the last three years, and President Obama himself has called for it to be raised to $10.10 an hour. Yet Republicans have blocked the attempts to raise the federal wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for five years.
That doesn’t mean wages aren’t increasing, however. Since the beginning of the year, a number of states have passed legislation to increase their minimum wages, with more considering doing the same:
So far ten states have passed higher wages since January: Delaware to $8.25 an hour; West Virginia to $8.75; Rhode Island to $9; Michigan to $9.25; Minnesota to $9.50; Connecticut, Hawaii, and Maryland to $10.10; Vermont to $10.50; and Massachusetts to $11 an hour. They’re not alone: 22 states have wage floors above the federal minimum. The city of Seattle has gone even further, implementing a $15 wage.
While some warn that raising the minimum wage is a job killer, states that have taken action aren’t finding that to be true. Those whose wages increased on January 1 are experiencing faster job growth than the others. State minimum wage increases over the past two decades haven’t had an impact on job creation. Washington, which has the highest current minimum wage, experienced the biggest increase in small business jobs last year and has seen steady, above average job growth in the 15 years since it raised its wage.