Minimum-wage laws, state by state

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I believe the national minimum wage of $6.55 an hour is:
  • Too high
  • Too low
  • Just right
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Minimum-wage laws around the U.S. are a patchwork of federal and state legislation. On Thursday, the federal minimum wage rose to $6.55 per hour, but the change only affects workers in 26 states (plus Washington, D.C.). The remaining 24 states already have state minimum wages set above $6.55 per hour.

Thursday's increase is the third of three annual increases mandated by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. In July 2009, the federal minimum will rise again to $7.25 per hour.

The following 26 states had their minimum wages rise to $6.55:

Alabama
Arkansas
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Louisiana
Maryland
Minnesota
Mississippi
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Oklahoma
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Of those 26 states, 18 automatically follow the federal minimum wage:

Alabama
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Louisiana
Mississippi
Nebraska
North Dakota
Oklahoma
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
West Virginia (A state minimum-wage raise approved in 2006 to $7.25 only applied to a limited number of workers. Workers covered by the federal minimum-wage law are exempt from coverage under the state minimum-wage law.)
Wyoming

The other eight states had a minimum that was higher than the previous federal minimum, but lower than $6.55:

Arkansas (was $6.25)
Maryland (was $6.15)
Minnesota (was $6.15)
Montana (was $6.25)
New Hampshire (was $6.50; will rise to $7.25 in September)
New Mexico (was $6.50)
North Carolina (was $6.15)
Wisconsin (was $6.50)

Washington, D.C. automatically sets its minimum wage $1 above the federal rate; its minimum increased on Thursday to $7.55 per hour.

The federal minimum wage hike will generally have no effect on employers in these 24 states, because they currently have minimum wages at or above $6.55 per hour:

Alaska (the state minimum wage is $7.15)
Arizona ($6.90, indexed to inflation)
California ($8.00)
Colorado ($7.02, indexed to inflation)
Connecticut ($7.65)
Delaware ($7.15)
Florida ($6.79, indexed to inflation)
Hawaii ($7.25)
Illinois ($7.75)
Iowa ($7.25)
Kentucky ($6.55)
Maine ($7.00; will rise to $7.25 on October 1)
Massachusetts ($8.00)
Michigan ($7.40)
Missouri ($6.65, indexed to inflation)
Nevada ($6.85, indexed to inflation. This minimum applies only to workers without health benefits. With benefits, the minimum is $5.85).
New Jersey ($7.15 )
New York ($7.15)
Ohio ($7.00, indexed to inflation)
Oregon ($7.95, indexed to inflation)
Pennsylvania ($7.15)
Rhode Island ($7.40)
Vermont ($7.68, indexed to inflation)
Washington ($8.07, indexed to inflation)

Sources: HR.BLR.com, the Department of Labor, and the Economic Policy Institute To top of page

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