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News from EPI EPI updates Minimum Wage Tracker as minimum wages rise in two states, the District of Columbia, and 15 cities and counties

On July 1st, minimum wages rose in two states, the District of Columbia, and 15 cities and counties, as part of scheduled increases passed through legislation or ballot measures. EPI’s Minimum Wage Tracker, which provides comprehensive data on state and local minimum wage laws, has been updated to reflect these changes.

“It has now been 11 years since Congress passed an increase in the federal minimum wage. As inflation has eaten away at the federal minimum wage’s value, many states, cities, and counties have stepped up to protect the workers in their jurisdictions,” said Senior Economic Analyst David Cooper. “However, while some jurisdictions are moving forward to raise wages, workers in many others are being left behind. The federal minimum wage far too low and overdue for an increase.”

In Oregon, the minimum wage rose from $10.25 to $10.75, from $10 to $10.50 in rural areas, and from $11.25 to $12.00 an hour inside the Portland Urban Growth Boundary, thanks to legislation passed in 2016. In Maryland, the minimum wage rose to $10.10, and in the District of Columbia, it rose to $13.25.

Of the 15 cities and counties with increases, 10 are in California. The highest minimum wage in the country is now in Emeryville, CA, at $15.69 for businesses with at least 56 employees. The state with the highest minimum wage remains Washington State, which reached $11.50 on January 1 of this year.

“It’s remarkable and sad that someone in San Francisco and someone in Birmingham could be doing the exact same job, but the worker in San Francisco will be paid more than double what the worker in Alabama is paid. There’s no economic justification for that,” said Economic Analyst Janelle Jones. “Not only are many states not moving forward, in some recent cases preemption laws have forced cities to roll back their minimum wage laws.”

There are still 21 states with a minimum wage of $7.25. Birmingham, Ala. and Johnson County, Iowa were both scheduled to have minimum wage increases take place on July 1, but those scheduled increases were nullified when the state legislatures in both states preempted cities and counties from establishing local minimum wages.