The Fight for $15 is an Ongoing, Uphill Battle [Infograph]

For 19 states and 21 cities, the new year started with minimum-wage increases. Another three states and 18 cities (and counties) will follow suit and increase minimum wages later in 2019. The Fight for $15 movement has helped spur these salary increases, but most of the U.S. hasn’t reached the sought-after $15. State-wide minimum wage approvals vary pretty drastically, for example, Delaware approved a state-wide minimum wage of $9.25 to take effect in October 2019 whereas California approved $15 … which will take effect in 2022-2023. (But, thanks to inflation and other economic factors, $15 won’t really be a livable wage by then.)

- Advertisement -

“The peak value of the minimum wage in real terms was reached in 1968. To equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage in 1968 ($10.69), the current minimum wage’s real value ($7.25) would have to increase by $3.44 (or 47 percent),” says Craig K. Elwell, specialist in macroeconomic policy at the Congressional Research Service in Washington. “Although the nominal value of the minimum wage was increased by $5.65 (from $1.60 to $7.25) between 1968 and 2009, these legislated adjustments did not enable the minimum wage to keep pace with the increase in consumer prices, so the real minimum wage fell.”

- Advertisement -

Not surprisingly, most of the cities that will reach $15 this year are in urban, expensive areas of California. Employees at fast-food chains or large companies in New York City will also see $15/hr. this year. There are also a few cities that have minimum wages above $15, including Sunnyvale, Calif., ($15. 65), SeaTac, Wash., ($16.09) and Seattle, Wash., ($16 for larger employers).

Danielle King
Danielle Westermann Kinghttp://
Danielle Westermann King is a former staff writer for HRE.