: Workers in half of U.S. states will get minimum wage increases this year
2022 is set to be a more expensive year for many Americans with inflation at the highest level in nearly 40 years. Along with higher prices, Americans in 25 states are due for minimum wage hikes this year.
California will have the highest statewide minimum wage in the U.S. in 2022, at $15 an hour — a $1 an hour increase from 2021.
However, the California law only applies to employers who have 26 or more employees. Otherwise, the state’s minimum wage is $14 an hour for employers with less than 26 employees, but it is set to rise to $15 an hour by 2023.
Additionally, a $15 an hour minimum wage went into effect on Jan. 1 in three New York counties: Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau. A $15 minimum wage for all workers in New York City went into effect two years ago.
The remaining counties in New York are required to pay workers at least $13.20 an hour, a $0.70 increase from last year. That also went into effect on Jan. 1.
Seattle is the city with the highest minimum wage at $17.27 an hour for most employers; that law went into effect on Jan. 1.
The largest effective minimum wage increase this year occurred in Virginia where it increased from $9.50 an hour to $11 an hour on Jan. 1.
Eight states (Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Washington, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio and South Dakota) raised the minimum wage across their state based on cost-of-living increases reported in the Consumer Price Index.
That’s according to an analysis on state and city minimum wage laws in 2022 published by the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit that advocates for workers’ rights.
The federal minimum wage, which applies to most private sector employers, has been $7.25 an hour since 2009. That comes out to roughly $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week. President Joe Biden sought to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 in a 2021 pandemic relief package, but the proposal was scrapped after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that minimum-wage legislation couldn’t be passed through the budget reconciliation process.
The Biden administration later issued an executive order increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 an hour.
Even without minimum wage increases, many employers across the U.S. have raised pay on their own to lure in workers in light of widespread labor shortages. In the third quarter last year, employers raised wages and salaries by 1.5%.
There are still some 11 million job openings in the U.S. and some 6.9 million people unemployed, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS is set to release new data on job openings for November on Tuesday and unemployment data for December on Friday.