Minimum Wage To Rise In 21 States This Week

Source:Paul Davidson / USA Today

The minimum wage will rise in 21 states in 2015, putting it above the federal pay floor in more than half the USA and highlighting the impact of a national movement to boost the earnings of low-paid workers.

The increases will lift the hourly wages of 2.4 million workers by up to $1 to an average of $8 and a high of $9.15, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The federal hourly minimum is $7.25.

Another 1.9 million workers are expected to benefit from a higher pay scale. The post-Christmas gifts will pump about $1.5 billion into the U.S. economy because low-wage workers tend to spend most of their paychecks, the liberal think tank estimates.

“It’s not going to bring them a life of luxury, but it’s a substantial amount of money for somebody struggling to get by,” says EPI senior economic analyst David Cooper. “They can make payment plans for a car or buy some extra groceries. ”

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