The minimum wage in Washington will go up to $9.19 an hour on Jan. 1, keeping the state ahead of all others and nearly $2 above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
Idaho’s minimum wage will remain unchanged at $7.25 an hour, which is just over $15,000 a year for a full-time employee. It also falls within the federal definition of poverty for a two-person household.
The Washington wage, now $9.04, changes annually to keep pace with the rising cost of living.
Voters in 1998 approved a ballot initiative that provides for the rate adjustments.
The wage bump will apply to an estimated 144,000 workers – many of them in retail, food service, hotel and health care jobs – providing them an extra $310 per year on average, according to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute.
Another 20,000 will see a raise as pay scales are adjusted upward, the Washington, D.C.-based group estimates.
Nine other states – Montana, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Rhode Island and Vermont – also raise minimum wage rates on New Year’s Day.
Most of the new rates will remain under $8, including $7.80 in Montana. Vermont’s wage will increase to $8.60 and Oregon’s will go to $8.95 an hour.
As of Jan. 1, 19 states and the District of Columbia will have minimum wage rates above the federal level.