In eight states-Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, and Vermont-the minimum wage automatically increases each year to keep pace with inflation.
According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a nonprofit pushing for better pay, the list includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York and Washington state.
Millions of US workers will see increased pay in 2019 due to minimum-wage increases in 20 states and 21 cities.More news: Star NFL WR Skips Game After Dispute With Teammate
"It's been a long time since we've raised the federal minimum wage, and if Congress isn't going to do it, state lawmakers are feeling compelled to do it, and even local lawmakers", said David Cooper, senior economic analyst at EPI, a left-leaning research group.
"I think the weight of the evidence to date suggests the employment effects from minimum-wage increases in the US have been pretty small, much smaller than the wage increases", he said.
And others say minimum wages are important, but city and states, rather than the federal government, should set them because the cost of living varies widely across the country.More news: Trump says 'big progress' on possible China trade deal
Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Seattle's largest employers will have to pay workers at least $16 an hour starting Tuesday. "The minimum wage is such a simple, straightforward way to improve wages for people".
The popularity of minimum wage increases with voters has sometimes led to battles between voters and legislatures, as well as between states and smaller communities within them. Under federal law and many state laws, these workers can be paid less than the legal minimum wage on the assumption that they receive a substantial part of their income in the form of tips.More news: New year brings new minimum wage throughout NY
Not every minimum wage increase happens at the beginning of the year. Some cities in California, Santa Fe in New Mexico, and the whole state of Nevada, are planning minimum wage increases on July 1. The government said it would give a six-month grace period to companies to change the wage structure.