Tags: States | boost | Minimum | Wage

Eight States to Boost Minimum Wage in New Year

By Sheryl Nance-Nash   |   Tuesday, 27 Dec 2011 11:07 AM

Every little bit helps, especially when it comes to money. Some 1.4 million workers will ring in the New Year with a pay raise.

On Jan.1, the minimum wage will increase in eight states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. The rates will jump from 28 cents to 37 cents an hour, which translates into a boost of $582 to $770 a year for a full time worker.

While that may not seem like much, think again. The increased consumer spending generated by the raises will lead to an additional $366 million in GDP and create the equivalent of more than 3,000 full time jobs, according to an analysis of the Economic Policy Institute.

“These minimum wage increases represent bright spots on an otherwise bleak economic horizon,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the not-for-profit, National Employment Law Project, in a prepared statement.

“Workers’ buying power is the secret weapon in the fight to get our economy back on track. States are taking action to protect that critical buying power. Congress should follow their example to realize these benefits of the national economy.”

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates above the federal level of $7.25 an hour, which is just over $15,000 per year for a full-time minimum wage worker.

Arizona increases 30 cents, to $7.65; Colorado, 28 cents to $7.64; Florida, 36 cents to $7.67; Montana, 30 cents to $7.65; Ohio, 30 cents to $7.70; Oregon 30 cents, to $8.80; Washington, 37 cents to $9.04 and Vermont, 31 cents to $8.46.

Said Owens, “In an economy drained by sluggish demand and extreme inequality, we ignore the problem of low wages at our peril. While some of our economic challenges seem intractable, the problem of low wages is one we can – and should – act on immediately.”

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