Five million workers will get a raise on January 1 when new minimum wage requirements take effect in 20 states and almost two dozen cities around the U.S.
Ohio's hourly minimum wage has gone up again, with the rate increasing by 25 cents an hour Tuesday from $8.30 to $8.55.
The minimum wage continues to be a controversial topic, with the Fight for 15 movement seeking to raise minimum pay for everyone, and experts debating whether a higher minimum wage helps low-income workers by giving them better salaries, or hurts them because their employers are likely to reduce their hours or even downsize to keep payroll costs from climbing when the minimum wage goes up. Some cities in California, Santa Fe in New Mexico, and the whole state of Nevada, are planning minimum wage increases on July 1.
The state minimum wage increases because it is tied to inflation.
Eight states have minimum wages above the federal rate of $7.25 an hour but are not scheduled to increase their minimum wages in 2019.
Minnesota now has the highest minimum wage in the Upper Midwest.
"Eventually when we get to that 11 dollars an hour in Arkansas, that minimum wage is going to be outside, much higher than that 60% of the median wage and we are not sure what the effects of that will be in terms of jobs or whether we will see positive effects or not", he said.
What about the federal minimum wage? "But it's motivated many of them to accept that we need higher minimum wages than we now have in much of the country".
The federal minimum for workers who receive tips is $2.13 per hour.
"For us it's very simple".
The District of Columbia has the highest minimum wage in the United States at $13.25 an hour. On the other end of the spectrum, in New York City, the minimum wage is jumping from $13 to $15. "The American people believe in the value of work ― and that workers deserve to be valued". That gain generally went to those who already had been working more hours while those who had been working less saw no significant change in their overall earnings. "But it's motivated many of them to accept that we need higher minimum wages than we now have in much of the country".