Minimum wage increases will take effect January 1 in 20 different US states and the District of Columbia. As a result 29 states plus DC will have minimum wage rates above the federally mandated $7.25 per hour. The changes in the state minimums are expected to affect more than 3 million workers. They are the ONE PERCENT of the population that gets less attention than the ONE PERCENT that draws the ire of Occupy Wall Street and other income inequality protesters.
While the trend is being celebrated by worker advocates, it may have little practical effect in many cases. In Florida the minimum wage is rising 12 cents. In Missouri it rises 15 cents. Some states like Minnesota are using more sophisticated economic models to raise wages, tying the increases to cost-of-living expenses. The state with the highest minimum wage will be Washington, at $9.47, still below President Obama’s proposed national increase to $10.10 per hour.