Minimum wage increases in 19 states

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The minimum wage increased in 19 states Jan. 1, directly affecting an estimated 5.3 million workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The boosts ranged from 5 cents an hour in Alaska to $2 an hour in New York.

The average wage for retail trade workers was $16.15 an hour in November 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

The latest rises in state minimum-wage rates happened in three ways:

  • By legislative action in California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Rhode Island.
  • By voter initiative in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Missouri and Washington.
  • Through previous legislation action setting automatic cost-of-living adjustments in Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota and Vermont.

The highest state minimum wage in 2019 is $12 an hour in California, Massachusetts and Washington. The minimum wage in the District of Columbia is $14 an hour.

The California minimum applies to businesses with 25 or more employees. Smaller companies can pay $11 an hour.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour but is exceeded in 29 states.

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