Dozens of cities and states around the country will hike their wage floors when the ball drops on New Year’s, thanks largely to annual cost-of-living increases tied to minimum wage laws in recent years.
A new analysis from the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group that promotes higher minimum wages, shows that 23 states and 41 cities and counties will implement increases at the start of 2023. The new minimums will be at least $15 per hour in 40 of those jurisdictions — most of them expensive urban areas — reflecting the long-term success of the Fight for $15 labor campaign that began a decade ago.
Another five states and 22 cities and counties will boost their wage floors later in the year. (Read NELP’s full report below.)
Six states will be at or above $15 per hour on New Year’s Day: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington.
Here are all 23 states increasing their minimum wages at the start of 2023, their current minimums, and the new rates:
- Alaska: $10.34 to $10.85
- Arizona: $12.80 to $13.85
- California: $15.00 ($14.00 for small employers) to $15.50
- Colorado $12.56 to $13.65
- Delaware: $10.50 to $11.75
- Illinois: $12.00 to $13.00
- Maine: $12.75 to $13.80
- Maryland: $12.50 ($12.20 for small employers) to $13.25 ($12.80)
- Massachusetts: $14.25 to $15.00
- Michigan: $9.87 to $10.10
- Minnesota: $10.33 ($8.42 for small employers) to $10.50 ($8.63)
- Missouri: $11.15 to $12.00
- Montana: $9.20 to $9.95
- Nebraska: $9.00 to $10.50
- New Jersey: $13.00 to $14.00
- New Mexico: $11.50 to $12.00
- New York: $15.00 for New York City, Long Island and Westchester County ($13.20 upstate) to $15.00 ($14.20)
- Ohio: $9.30 to $10.10
- Rhode Island: $12.25 to $13.00
- South Dakota: $9.95 to $10.80
- Vermont: $12.55 to $13.18
- Virginia: $11.00 to $12.00
- Washington state: $14.49 to $15.74
Many of the increases are greater than in typical years, due to the high inflation rate that persisted throughout 2022. State and local laws often tie their wage floor hikes to an inflation index so that they readjust each year in line with consumer prices.
The local raises come at a time when Congress has largely abandoned the federal minimum wage, which remains just $7.25 per hour and applies in any jurisdiction that doesn’t mandate a higher one. The last federal increase was implemented in 2009, as part of a series of hikes signed into law during the presidency of George W. Bush.
“Many of the increases are greater than in typical years, due to the high inflation rate that persisted throughout 2022.”
Congress has now gone 15 years without approving another increase, the longest such period since the minimum wage was established during the Great Depression. Democrats mostly support a gradual rise to $15 per hour, but they have been stymied by Republican opposition in the Senate, where any increase would need to garner 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.
The gridlock in Washington has left the minimum wage largely in the hands of local lawmakers and voters. A majority of states now mandate a higher wage floor than the federal level, due to ballot referendums and legislation passed in statehouses.
Yannet Lathrop, a researcher and analyst at NELP, called the increases coming in 2023 a “true testament to the power of organizing,” noting that many came about due to pressure put on politicians and employers. “We encourage lawmakers to go further and raise pay broadly across our economy,” Lathrop said.
Many Democrats in Washington had tried to increase the minimum wage last year through a legislative maneuver known as budget reconciliation, but the Senate parliamentarian ruled that it was against the chamber’s rules. An increase is unlikely to be a priority for the incoming Congress: Even though Democrats still control the Senate, Republicans will hold a majority in the House, and many of them oppose any increase at all.
But some states continue to aggressively hike the local wage floor on their own. Last month voters in Nebraska approved a measure to increase the minimum wage from its current $9 to $15 over the course of four years, making it the reddest state on a track to $15. However, voters in Portland, Maine, rejected an effort to boost the city’s floor to $18, which would have been among the highest in the nation.