How the Minimum Wage Changed Throughout the US in 2022

Target Wages, Edison, USA - 16 Nov 2018
Julio Cortez / AP /

Workers who toil for the federal minimum wage have not seen their pay increase in 13 years. Despite repeated attempts at hiking the lowest pay allowed by law, legislation that would boost the minimum wage remains stalled in Congress — but that doesn’t mean that the whole country is stuck at a paltry $7.25 an hour. 

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In 2022, half of the states in America raised their minimum wages. Here’s a look at how the lowest-paid workers in America fared in their respective states in 2022. 

Half the States Bumped Their Minimum Wages in 2022

According to the Economic Policy Institute, workers in 21 states got a raise on New Year’s Day in 2022. Minimum wage increases ranged from $0.22 to $1.50 an hour, adding between $458 and $3,120 to the annual earnings of full-time minimum wage workers.

The following nine states saw increases through previously scheduled inflation-based adjustments: 

  • Arizona: $0.65 increase from $12.15 to $12.80
  • Colorado: $0.24 increase from $12.32 to $12.56
  • Maine: $0.60 increase from $12.15 to $12.75
  • Minnesota: $0.25 increase from $10.08 to $10.33
  • Montana: $0.45 increase from $8.75 to $9.20
  • New York: $0.70 increase from $12.50 to $13.20
  • Ohio: $0.50 increase from $8.80 to $9.30
  • South Dakota: $0.50 increase from $9.45 to $9.95
  • Washington: $0.80 increase from $13.69 to $14.49

Another 12 states increased their minimum wages through legislation or ballot measures: 

  • California: $1 increase from $14 to $15
  • Delaware: $1.25 increase from $9.25 to $10.50
  • Illinois: $1 increase from $11 to $12
  • Maryland: $0.75 increase from $11.75 to $12.50
  • Massachusetts: $0.75 increase from $13.50 to $14.25
  • Michigan: $0.22 increase from $9.65 to $9.87
  • Missouri: $0.85 increase from $10.30 to $11.15
  • New Jersey: $1 increase from $12 to $13
  • New Mexico: $1 increase from $10.50 to $11.50
  • Rhode Island: $0.75 increase from $11.50 to $12.25
  • Vermont: $0.80 increase from $11.75 to $12.55
  • Virginia: $1.50 increase from $9.50 to $11
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Four more states increased their minimum wages later in the year. 

  • Connecticut: On July 1, Connecticut’s minimum wage increased from $13 to $14 an hour.
  • Florida: As of Sept. 30, Florida’s minimum wage is $11 an hour. It will rise by $1 per year until it hits $15 in September 2026.
  • Oregon: On July 1, Oregon’s location-based minimum wage rose to $12.50 in non-urban counties, $13.50 for the state standard and $13.75 for Portland metro.
  • Nevada: Starting July 1, Nevada’s minimum wage jumped to $9.50 for workers who receive health benefits and $10.50 for those who don’t.

20 States Adhere to the Federal Standard

The federal minimum wage has remained stuck at $7.25 since 2009, the longest period without an increase since the Fair Labor Standards Act first established a minimum wage in 1938. A full-time employee earns just $290 for a 40-hour week — before taxes. 

That gives minimum wage workers annual pay of around $15,000 — just above the federal poverty line for individuals and below it for households with two or more people. When adjusted for inflation, an employee would have to earn $10.07 per hour to purchase what $7.25 would have bought in 2009.

As of 2022, 30 states plus Washington, D.C., have established minimum wages that surpass the federal standard — which means that 20 have not. Among them are seven states — Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wyoming — that either have no minimum wage at all or one that’s lower than the federal standard. In those states, the $7.25 federal minimum applies. 

Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., automatically adjust their minimum wages for inflation and 46 localities have minimum wages that are higher than that of their respective states.

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Legislation To Raise the Wage Remains Stalled in Congress

House Democrats re-introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 on Jan. 28 of last year — a previous version from 2019 never got a vote. The bill would raise the federal minimum to $15 an hour over five years in the following annual increments:

  • First year: $9.50 an hour
  • Second year: $11 an hour
  • Third year: $12.50 an hour
  • Fourth year: $14 an hour
  • Fifth year: $15 an hour

The bill would also eliminate sub-minimum wage pay for disabled and young workers and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, as well. Just as in 2019, the legislation has stalled and has yet to receive a vote.

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