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The increases range from 22 cents to $1.50 per hour, but most states’ pay floors are not high enough to ensure economic stability, according to a new report.
While the federal minimum wage remains $7.25 an hour—unchanged since 2009—nearly half of states have raised their minimum wages so far this year, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute.
Earlier this year, 21 states raised minimum wages with increases ranging from a 22-cent inflation adjustment in Michigan to a $1.50 per hour bump in Virginia, according to the report. On July 1, Connecticut, Oregon, Nevada and the District of Columbia joined those ranks, with increases ranging from 50 cents per hour in nonurban Oregon counties to $1 in Connecticut.
In Connecticut, Oregon and Nevada—which now have $14, $13.50 and $10.50 minimum wages, respectively—the increases were the results of legislation passed in the last few years. Meanwhile, the district’s minimum wage jumped from $15.20 to $16.10 as part of its annual inflation adjustment.
And it’s not just states that have rolled out wage increases over the last several months. Forty-four localities have raised minimum wages for 2022, with increases ranging from 40 cents in Chicago to $1.11 in Pasadena, California. For most cities and counties, the increases were part of automatic inflation adjustments that, by law, happen annually.
Laws that increase minimum wages in response to inflation are meant to ensure that people earning minimum wage can continue to purchase the same amount of goods and services each year, the report said. While these increases help low-wage workers handle the rising costs of living, they’re often not high enough to ensure economic stability, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
For example, on July 1, Chicago raised its minimum wage to $15.40 per hour, meaning a full-time worker will make $32,032 annually. However, a single resident in Cook County—which includes Chicago—needs $39,204 to achieve “a modest yet adequate standard of living,” according to the institute’s Family Budget Calculator.
The Economic Policy Institute is a nonprofit that aims to elevate the needs of low- and middle-income Americans in policy discussions. Last year, the organization published an article in favor of a $15 minimum wage, noting that low wages are especially harmful to people of color and women, and are the results of systemic racism and sexism.
Only California and the district have met or surpassed that standard. But several localities across the country—including Seattle, New York, Denver, Minneapolis and St. Paul—have minimum wages of at least $15, according to EPI’s minimum wage tracker.
For more information from the report click here.
Molly Bolan is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.