Note: this snapshot has been updated to reflect changes to EPI’s estimates of the dollar value of workers’ gains due to various minimum wage increases.
At the beginning of 2018, 18 states will increase their minimum wage, providing about $5 billion in additional wages to 4.5 million workers across the country. In a majority of these states, minimum wage increases (ranging from $0.35 in Michigan to $1.00 in Maine) are the result of legislation or ballot measures approved by voters in recent years. Eight of these states (Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota) will have smaller automatic increases that adjust the minimum wage to keep pace with price growth. This automatic inflation adjustment preserves the buying power of the minimum wage, which has steadily eroded over time.
The map shows the value of the minimum wage increase and the number of workers directly affected in each state. (See data for each state.)
State minimum wage increases helped 4.5 million workers, but federal inaction has left many more behind: States with minimum wage increases effective January 1, 2018
|State||Share of workforce directly benefiting||Type of increase||New minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2018||Amount of increase||Total workers directly benefiting||Total increase in annual wages|
|New Jersey||2.3%||Inflation adjustment||$8.60||$0.16||91,000||$21,519,000|
|South Dakota||2.7%||Inflation adjustment||$8.85||$0.20||10,000||$2,391,000|
“Legislation” indicates that the new rate was established by the legislature or through a ballot measure. “Inflation adjustment” indicates that the new rate was established by a formula, reflecting the change in prices over the preceding year
Directly affected workers will see their wages rise because the new minimum wage rate exceeds their current hourly pay. This does not include additional workers who may receive a wage increase through “spillover” effects, as employers adjust overall pay scales.
Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey microdata 2016
The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009. Relative to any of the most common benchmarks, such as the cost of living or average productivity, the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 is simply too low. If it had kept up with productivity since the late 1960s, the federal minimum wage would be worth about $19 an hour in 2018. In the absence of federal action, 29 states and the District of Columbia have raised their minimum wages above the federal minimum wage. Yet, in 21 states, workers are still paid at far lower wages than their counterparts a generation ago. Increasing the minimum wage is a crucial tool to help stop growing wage inequality, particularly for women and people of color who disproportionately hold minimum wage jobs. As low-wage workers face a growing number of attacks on their ability get a fair return on their work, Congress should act to set a higher wage floor for working people.
EPI’s minimum wage tracker will be updated as minimum wage increases take effect in 2018.