With a bump in the minimum wage to $9.19 an hour today, high school student Miranda Olson will edge closer to her goal of purchasing that black Volkswagen Beetle she’s been researching online.
Olson is only able to pick up part-time hours, working after classes and on weekends. But the extra pennies she’ll earn in 2013 will add up over the coming weeks and months.
“It’s not much, but it’s something,” said Olson, 16, who works at Wagner’s European Bakery and Cafe in Olympia. “Every bit helps.”
Many workers around the country won’t be as lucky as the ones in Washington state, which is raising its salary minimum even though it already has the highest state baseline in the country. Workers one state over — in Idaho — will make nearly $2 per hour less in 2013.
Automatic minimum wage increases designed to compensate for inflation have steadily pushed up pay in some states, even through the recession, expanding the gap between areas that make annual adjustments and those that don’t. Of the 10 states that will increase the minimum wage today, nine did so automatically to adjust for inflation.
The automatic adjustments aren’t much. Washington’s bump of 15 cents will mean those who work 40-hour weeks will earn an extra $6 per week.
Between the nine states with automatic adjustments happening this year, the average minimum wage is $8.12 per hour, up from a little under $8. States that do not have automatic changes operate with an average minimum wage of about $7.40 — a difference of about $1,500 per year for a full-time worker.
Many states, including Idaho, follow the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.