These States Will Raise Their Minimum Wage Starting in 2022 — What This Could Mean for Retail

Starting in 2022, millions of Americans might get a pay bump as states increase their minimum wage.

21 states and 35 cities and counties will raise their minimum wages on or around New Year’s Day, according to a Monday report from worker advocacy group National Employment Law Project (NELP). In 33 of these regions, which includes the states of New York and California, hourly pay will increase to at least $15 an hour.

Later in 2022, 4 more states and 22 local jurisdictions will introduce additional minimum wage hikes. These regions include localities in Illinois, Maryland, and Minnesota, with 17 of these regions hitting $15 or more per hour. The report forecasted that 2 states and 47 cities and counties will meet or exceed a $15 minimum wage by the end of 2022.

In some of these regions, wages will increase due cost-of-living adjustments.

At the start of 2021, annual cost-of-living adjustments and other scheduled gains led wages to jump by pennies to a dollar for workers across 20 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington.

In 2021, New York hit a $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers. New York City hit this minimum for all workers in 2019 as part of a statewide wage order enacted in 2016.

The planned wage hikes, which come amid a general worker shortage across the food service and retail industries, could help improve the labor shortage and boost spending power across the U.S.

As a record number of people quit their jobs, labor shortages are becoming an even bigger problem for retailers who need to keep stores staffed this holiday season. Roughly 4.2 million people, or 2.8% of U.S. workers, quit their jobs in October. The number of people who quit their retail jobs in October was 683,0000, at a rate of 4.4%. While this number was slightly down from the roughly 685,0000 retail workers who left their jobs in September, mass quitting is still intensifying labor shortages across the industry.

As a result, some retailers have hiked pay and benefits in an attempt to attract and retain workers — perhaps as well as incentivize them to return to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Others, however, raised wages as part of previously announced plans.

For example, Macy’s recently said it would boost its minimum pay to $15 per hour and launch a tuition benefit program for all U.S.-based salaried and hourly employees. At Kohl’s, hourly store, distribution center and e-commerce fulfillment center employees who work through the holidays will be eligible for a bonus of between $100 and $400.

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