By January 1, hourly minimum wages in 23 states will rise as part of previously scheduled efforts to reach $15 an hour or to account for cost-of-living changes. The increases account for more than $5 billion in pay boosts for an estimated 8.4 million workers, the Economic Policy Institute estimates.
Additionally, nearly 30 cities and counties across the US will increase their minimum wage, according to the EPI, a left-leaning think tank.
“The fact that there’s high inflation really just underscores how necessary these minimum wage increases are for workers,” said Sebastian Martinez Hickey, a research assistant at the EPI. “Even before the pandemic, there was no county in the United States where you could affordably live as a single adult at $15 an hour.”
The pay increases affect about 8.4 million workers, who will gain a combined $5 billion over the course of 2023, the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute found.
After the wave of wage hikes, Washington became the state with the highest minimum wage, offering workers $15.74 per hour. Meanwhile, workers in Massachusetts and the New York City area saw their minimum base pay rise to $15 per hour.
A new Economic Policy Institute report reaffirms that the post-pandemic teacher shortage is both widespread and severe in schools serving students of color or from low-income families. The report warns: “The shortage is not a function of an inadequate number of qualified teachers in the U.S. economy. Simply, there are too few qualified teachers willing to work at current compensation levels given the increasingly stressful environment facing teachers.”
Education has long been considered a calling, but that doesn’t mean teachers and staff won’t leave if they are substantially underpaid. An analysis this month from the Economic Policy Institute spells out how teachers in the early 1990s were, on average, paid about 5 percent less than college graduates in other professions. Today, they are paid close to 25 percent less. There is no shortage of people who want to work in education, the report concludes, but there’s a scarcity of qualified teachers who are“willing to work at current wages and under current working conditions.”
The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute estimated in 2018 that more than 9 million workers who are statutorily excluded from overtime protections, such as teachers and registered nurses, are excluded from the pumping protections.
“The big ugly fact out there is that since modern recorded history, only about half of workers have ever had a retirement plan,” says Monique Morrissey, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, referring to savings vehicles like 401(k)s. “More than half of workers either have little or nothing.”
In 2021, housekeepers made an average hourly wage of $14.22 per hour, while home health aides made $14.07 per hour, according to the Department of Labor. Childcare workers made an average of $13.31 per hour. Domestic workers are three times as likely to be living in poverty as other workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Not only do right-to-work laws undermine unions, they also hurt workers’ wages. The Economic Policy Institute found that workers in right-to-work states earn 3.1 percent less than comparable workers in states without such laws, after adjusting for differences in the cost of living. That means a worker’s pay is on average around $1,600 less per year.
In 2017, the FBI reported the cost of street crime at about $13.8 billion, the same year that the Economic Policy Institute released a study saying that just one form of wage theft — minimum wage violations — costs U.S. workers even more: an estimated $15 billion annually, impacting an estimated 17% of low-wage workers.
Margaret Poydock, a policy analyst with the Economic Policy Institute who studies the labor movement, said the increased interest in workers’ rights from Gen Z workers stems in part from the time they’ve grown up. The pandemic, for example, put added stress on so-called “essential workers” or frontline workers in the retail industry at grocery stores, restaurants and shops.
According to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, 8.4 million workers will start getting a higher paycheck come January 1. That’s due to a combination of inflation adjustments, legislation, and ballot measures. Taken together, the increases will boost pay for those 8.4 million workers by over $5 billion — and women and workers of color, who are all more likely to be low-wage workers, will be disproportionately impacted.
About 188,000 Ohioans will see direct wage gains while about 275,000 other workers across the state are likely to see bigger paychecks as employers adjust their pay scales, says Policy Matters Ohio, citing estimates from the Economic Policy Institute.
Meanwhile, 23 states and Washington, D.C., according to the Economic Policy Institute, will implement higher minimum wages on Jan. 1. Those increases, which will range from 23 cents to $1.50 per hour, will affect 8 million workers.
The alleged trend of “quiet quitting” grabbed media attention this year. But plenty of employees were, by official measures, working more than ever. The U.S. had an “exceptionally strong” job market in 2022, said Josh Bivens, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, with 4.3 million jobs created through November. That was the second-best performance since 1940, he said, with the first-best being 2021.
As a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute outlines, without increased domestic production of electric vehicle batteries and other power train components, the large-scale introduction of electric vehicles could result in the loss of over two hundred fifty thousand jobs in automobile assembly and parts production.
Child care in Wisconsin is already expensive, ranking 20th among states and the District of Columbia for most expensive infant care. The average annual cost of child care was nearly $12,600 in October 2020, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
“It would be political negligence to do a one-off and not hold Republicans to account,” said Celine McNicholas, chief lobbyistfor the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute who previously served as director of congressional and public affairs for the NLRB. “You lose any kind of leverage with Republicans if you move Ring’s seat without moving Wilcox’s seat. You essentially give Republicans an advantage.”
Fewer options for parents have also led to higher costs in most areas, though prices vary wildly state to state. For example, while the average annual price of a full-time child care center for a toddler costs more than $24,000 in Washington, DC, it comes out to roughly $6,800 in Arkansas, according to a calculator made by the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute. States like California and New York have some of the least affordable child care options, costing nearly half the median income for a single-parent family, according to a 2021 report from Child Care Aware of America.
By the numbers: Black and Latino workers make up 12.8% and 17.4% of the total workforce, respectively, but only 10% and 9.8% of the professional workforce, according to the Economic Policy Institute and the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO.
In 2017, the FBI reported the cost of street crime at about $13.8 billion. That same year, the Economic Policy Institute released a study saying that just one form of wage theft — minimum wage violations — costs U.S. workers even more: an estimated $15 billion annually, impacting an estimated 17 percent of low-wage workers.
Experts say rampant inflation has sunk the real value of today’s federal minimum wage to its lowest point in decades. “(Congress) has really failed at their job of making sure that we have wage standards that are up to date,” said Ben Zipperer, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute — a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C.
The Economic Policy Institute determined that: “the expanded Child Tax Credit—a key element of the 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) — lifted 2.1 million children out of poverty. The ARP Child Tax Credit is the leading reason child poverty fell so precipitously from 9.7% in 2020 to 5.2% in 2021, the lowest rate on record.”