NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Minimum Wage In Some States Higher Than National Standard

January 6, 1999

Eight states and the District of Columbia have set their minimum wage higher than the national standard of $5.15 per hour.

  • Oregon has the highest minimum at $6.50 an hour -- followed by the District of Columbia, where it is $6.15.
  • It ranges from $5.75 to $5.25 in California, Washington, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Vermont.
  • In addition, some cities and counties are mandating wage increases for employees of local government contractors -- such as San Jose, Calif., which requires hourly pay of at least $9.50 with health benefits or $10.75 without.
  • A study by Florida State University economics professor David Macpherson projects a loss in Oregon of roughly 5,400 jobs due to a series of three annual increases approved by voters in 1996.

Other economists, however, contend the impact on jobs in Oregon has been muted by the state's booming economy during 1997 and part of 1998. But as economic growth has slowed because of weak exports to Asia and a downturn in some high-tech businesses, minimum wage employers are said to be weighing some price increases, job cuts and lower profits.

Source: Patrick McMahon, "Minimum Wage Increases Debated Anew," USA Today, January 6, 1999.


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