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These States Will Raise Their Minimum Wage Starting Tomorrow — What This Could Mean for Retail

Starting tomorrow, millions of Americans will get a pay bump.

Due to annual cost-of-living adjustments and other scheduled gains, half of the states in the country are set to raise their minimum wage in 2021.

Today, New Yorkers saw a 70-cent lift to $12.50, while wages will jump by pennies to a dollar or more on Friday for workers across 19 other states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington.

Later in the year, another four states — Connecticut, Nevada, Oregon and Virginia — plus Washington, D.C., will see an increase in their baseline pay.

The hikes come as the movement toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage continues to gain ground. President-elect Joe Biden has also proposed to more than double the federal minimum wage, which stands at $7.25 an hour and hasn’t seen an increase in more than 11 years.

Although some of the new state pay raises had already been in place, they arrive at a critical time for U.S. workers — many of whom are facing financial troubles stemming from the COVID-19 health crisis. Today, the Department of Labor reported 787,000 seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ended Dec. 26 — a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week but still historically elevated as the American labor market remains under pressure amid the global health crisis.

Critics have suggested that a higher minimum wage could negatively impact job growth and creation, with some experts speculating that companies might ultimately shrink their payrolls by introducing more automation into warehouses and distribution centers. On the other hand, advocates claim that pay hikes can not only put more money in the pockets of low-wage employees, but also provide them extra spending power to boost struggling local businesses.

Currently, a number of major retailers across the country are already paying their workers a higher wage than the federal level. Amazon, Target and Costco are among the boldface chains that have already raised their wages to $15 per hour, while Walmart’s starting pay is $11 per hour. (The big-box company improved wages for about 165,000 hourly workers — or roughly 11% of its U.S. workforce — in October as part of the rollout of a new operating model in its Supercenter stores.)

Here are more details about the states that are increasing their hourly wages in the coming days and months:

On Dec. 31, 2020:

  • New York: $15 in New York City; $14 in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties; $11.80 in the rest of the state

On Jan. 1, 2021:

  • Alaska, by 15 cents to $10.34
  • Arizona, by 15 cents to $12.15
  • Arkansas, by $1 to $11
  • California, by $1 to to $14
  • Colorado, by 32 cents to $12.32
  • Florida, by 9 cents to $8.65
  • Illinois, by $1 to $11
  • Maine, by 15 cents to $12.15
  • Maryland, by 75 cents to $11.75
  • Massachusetts, by 75 cents to $13.50
  • Minnesota, by 8 cents to $10.08
  • Missouri, by 85 cents to $10.30
  • Montana, by 10 cents to $8.75
  • New Jersey, by $1 to to $12
  • New Mexico, by $1.50 to $10.50
  • Ohio, by 10 cents to $8.80
  • South Dakota, by 15 cents to $9.45
  • Vermont, by 79 cents to $11.75
  • Washington, by 19 cents to $13.69

On May 1, 2021:

  • Virginia, by 50 cents to $9.50

On July 1, 2021:

  • Nevada, by 75 cents to $9.75
  • Oregon: $14 in the Portland metro; $12 in non-urban counties; $12.75 in the rest of the state
  • Washington, D.C., by $1 to $15

On Aug. 1, 2021:

  • Connecticut, by $1 to $13
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