UNITED STATES—January 13, 2020—The start of 2020 will see minimum wage increases in 24 states and 48 cities and counties around the country, according to CNN. Most of the changes took effect on January 1, with 4 of the states and 23 of the cities set to implement their wage increases later this year. Last year 20 states increased their minimum wages.
Raising the minimum wage has been a national issue over the past several years, with the movement Fight for $15 calling for a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour. In 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Raise the Wage Act to this effect, but the bill did not pass the Senate, according to CNN. A $15 per hour national minimum wage would more than double the current national minimum of $7.25 an hour. The federal minimum wage was last raised more than a decade ago in 2009, when it increased from $6.55 to $7.25. In the face of a stagnant federal minimum, many states and cities have passed higher minimum wage laws, in a few cases even reaching or working to reach the $15 per hour mark. However, many workers earning minimum wage earn far less, and wage increases continues to be an important social and economic issue.
At the heart of this issue is the question of whether minimum wage increases actually help or hurt workers. According to CNN, opponents of wage increases argue that small businesses often can’t afford to pay $15 per hour and will be forced to hire fewer workers, leading to job shortages or business closures. CNN reports that the Congressional Budget Office released a study last summer that found a $15 national minimum wage would result in a loss of 1.3 million workers. On the other hand, others like David Howell, a professor of economics at the New School, suggest that the effects would not be so pronounced and that half of the lost jobs are held by teenagers. Howell believes that the affected workers could be retrained for higher-paid jobs, according to CNN.
For a complete list of minimum wage by state as of January 2020, click here.