Nation's highest lowest wage to get even higher


Washington state will continue to pay the highest minimum wage in the country next year with a 15-cent raise for the lowest paid workers.

The state Department of Labor & Industries announced this morning the minimum wage will climb to $9.19 per hour starting Jan. 1.

The increase is a 1.67 percent bump from the current minimum wage of $9.04. Labor & Industries calculates the state’s minimum wage based on the Consumer Price Index. The system was approved by Washington voters in 1998 under Initiative 688. Washington is one of 10 states to adjust its minimum wage based on inflation and the Consumer Price Index.

The CPI measures average price changes for goods and services purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers. The goods and services include basic living costs — food, clothing, shelter, fuels and services such as doctor visits — the announcement explained.

The CPI was announced earlier this month by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That agency attributed the majority of the CPI rise to a jump in gasoline prices, which rose an average of 9 percent of the past 12 months.

Oregon’s minimum-wage workers will also receive a 15-cent increase in pay at the start of the new year. Minimum wage there will be $8.95 per hour starting Jan. 1. That is the second highest minimum wage in the nation.


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