On the first of the year, 21 states in the United States decided to raise its minimum wage.
The current federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour, but Congress is currently going through an extended debate about raising it to $10.10.
President Obama’s administration has been striving to change this factor for some time now.
The last time the nation witnessed the national minimum wage increase was in 2009.
Now, almost half of the country is stretching its hourly pay rate well beyond the national rate.
Some of these states include:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C, and West Virginia.
For some of the states, approval for the minimum wage increase occurred in 2014. Ten states— including Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and D.C.—passed a new wage rate during last year’s legislative hearings.
States like South Dakota and Nebraska supported the new change in November during midterm sessions.
Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts were among some of the states that increased its wage on for the New Year.
Connecticut decided to raise its hourly salary from $8.70 to $9.15. On Wednesday 31, the state of New York increased it wage above the federal rate.
Massachusetts’s new rate mirrors that of Connecticut. The state’s minimum wage has gone from $8 to $9 an hour.
Both Connecticut and Massachusetts are hoping to boost their wage between $10 and $11 an hour by the year 2017.
Executive Director Christine Owens of the National Employment Law Project feels that this sudden upsurge will benefit a majority of the nation’s struggling working class.
"Roughly 3 million low-paid workers will get a wage increase. That will pump additional resources into the economies of those states," said Owens.
While this may be true, an increase in hourly wages could have a harmful effect on the job market.
While people like Owens believe this new trend shows the start to more financial gain, others believe that it only "lessens the pressure on Congress."
Economists suggest that multiple industries will lose jobs that have to succumb to the wage increase.
A number of employers may become subjected to raising their wages. In response to this, a company may avoid hiring for certain positions that pay more than the federal minimum wage.
However, since D.C. is also conforming to wage alterations, this may just change Congress’s consideration.
As stated by Owen, "For the first time, we will have 29 states plus the District of Columbia with higher minimum wage rates than the federal rate and we think that this kind of activity at the state level will increase the pressure on Congress to act to raise the federal minimum wage."
In addition to the 21 states that have raised its wages, three more states and five other major cities plan to increase local salary rates sometime later this year.