StateStats: A Maximum Look at Minimum Wages: March 2012
Of the 72.9 million American workers paid by the hour, 4.4 million, or 6 percent, earned the federal minimum wage or less in 2010. About 60 percent of service jobs and nearly half in leisure and hospitality pay the minimum wage, with part-time workers more likely than full-time ones to earn minimum wages. Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and West Virginia have the largest portion, at 10 percent, of minimum wage workers, while Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington have the smallest, at less than 2 percent each.
Forty-four states set their own minimum wages; in 23 states they are the same as the federal one. In the other 21 states with wages different than the federal one, employees receive the higher rate.
New Hampshire lawmakers repealed their state’s minimum wage last year. It was largely considered a symbolic move, as the federal minimum wage (which was the same) still applies. Representative Carol McGuire, the bill’s sponsor, told the Associated Press she’d rather let the free market dictate wages, reflective of a trend toward less regulation of business. The Republican-controlled legislature overrode the bill’s veto by Democratic Governor John Lynch.
Minimum rates rose in 10 states on Jan. 1, 2012, through automatic ties to the cost of living.
— Jeanne Mejeur
By the Numbers
The federal minimum wage, set in July 2009.
States (and Guam ,V.I.) with the same wage as the federal one.
States (and D.C.) with higher wages than the federal one.
States with no state minimum wage, so the federal one applies.
States (and P.R.) with lower minimum wages, so the federal one applies.
States with automatic cost-of-living adjustments.
States (and D.C.) with automatic increases tied to federal ones.