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Minimum Wages to Rise Across the Country this Week

A number of workers in America will be ringing in the New Year with a wage hike on the horizon.

An analysis by The National Employment Law Project has found that the minimum wage will be increasing in 18 states and approximately 20 cities and counties starting this week. A few of the hikes will move employees closer to $15 – what workers’ rights advocates have deemed a “livable wage.” 

In New York City, for example, minimum wage will increase to $13 an hour for standard businesses with 11-plus employees, and $12 for those with 10 or fewer. The increase in the Big Apple is expected to reach $15 an hour by 2021. In the rest of the state, it jumps to $10.40 for standard workers this year.

Other states seeing an increase are Ohio ($8.30 an hour), Arizona ($10.50) and Washington State ($11.50). The highest is in SeaTac, WA, which will now offer $15.64 to hospitality and transportation employees, followed by $15.45 an hour for businesses in Seattle with 501-plus employees that don’t offer medical benefits, and $15 in Sunnyvale, CA. 

Earlier this year, a survey by BizBuySell found that American small business owners were split as to whether the country would benefit with widespread increases, with 47% supporting it and 40% opposed. 

“We still think it’s simply a job-killing proposal,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Maisch at the time. “What is most frustrating is that the proponents refuse to acknowledge that the people they’re hurting the most are the people who need that first job opportunity the $15 minimum wage is going to kill.”

Meanwhile, proponents say a minimum wage increase will help more people afford basic necessities and give the local economy a boost. “When [people] can afford the basics, they are able to afford to spend money at local businesses,” said Allan Freyer, director of workers’ rights for the North Carolina Justice Center. “And when they spend more money, businesses see higher sales, bigger profits and ultimately better job creation.”