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Minimum Wage Increases Across States - 4/13/16

Lawmakers in California and New York recently voted to put their states on a path towards a fifteen dollar minimum wage.  These are the first two states to establish a level that had previously been reserved for cities like Seattle and San Francisco. 

According to the Economic Policy Institute and as reported in the Wall Street Journal, an estimated nine million workers in California and New York earn less than fifteen dollars an hour and stand to benefit from pending increases. 

That represents approximately forty one percent of workers in California and thirty eight percent of those in New York.  These figures exclude the self-employed.  Nearly fifty four million workers nationally earn less than fifteen dollars an hour. 

In fact, the median wage for all workers in America in 2014 was $17.40 an hour, or sixteen percent above the eventual minimum wage in New York and California.  Of course, much of New York state is more expensive than the balance of the nation. 

According to the latest data available from the U.S. commerce department, the cost of living in the New York metropolitan area exceeded the national average by more than 22 percent in 2013.  However, the cost of living in the Buffalo metropolitan area is six percent below the nation’s average.  

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.