An increase in the federal minimum wage has not occurred since 2009, when it rose from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour, the last step of a three-step increase approved by Congress in 2007. However, before 2007, the minimum wage had been stuck at $5.15 per hour for ten years.
Recent efforts to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour have stalled repeatedly, but several states and cities – from Los Angeles to New York state and Washington, D.C. – have acted on their own to raise their minimum wage rates. The efforts to raise our minimum wage range from targeting certain sectors, such as fast-food workers, to more organized efforts like those of labor groups who are pushing for $15 an hour nation-wide.
Below are current state wage increase plans over the next several years.
|State||2016 rate||2017 rate||2018 rate|
|Alaska||$9.75||No increase||No increase|
|California||$10.00||No increase||No increase|
|Minnesota**||$8.00||$9.50 or $7.75||No increase|
|Nebraska||$9.00||No increase||No increase|
|New York||$9.00 or $9.75||No increase||No increase|
|Rhode Island||$9.60||No increase||No increase|
|South Dakota||$8.55||No increase||No increase|
|Washington, D.C.*||$11.50||No increase||No increase|
* Rates are effective July 1 each year.
** Rates are effective August 1 of each year.
According to the Pew Research Center, “adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.54 (in 2014 dollars). Since it was last raised in 2009, to the current $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum has lost about 8.1% of its purchasing power to inflation. The Economist recently estimated that, given how rich the U.S. is and the pattern among other advanced economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, ‘one would expect America…to pay a minimum wage around $12 an hour.’”