Special Report

These 15 Cities Will Increase Their Minimum Wages This Summer

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The last time federal lawmakers mandated an increase to the nation’s minimum wage, President George W. Bush was in office, Apple released the first iPhone, and Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” was the best performing single of the year.

The measure, signed into law in 2007, increased the country’s hourly wage floor for most workers from $5.15 to $7.25 in three stages over the following two years. But thanks to inflation, the current federal minimum wage has the purchasing power of $5.13 compared to 2009, meaning that the real federal minimum wage has fallen below where it was 14 years ago.

This wage erosion has been going on in fits and starts since 1968, when the real federal minimum wage reached its purchasing power apex. Back then, the federal hourly wage floor was $1.60, or about $14 in current dollars — nearly double the current federal minimum wage and almost triple its purchasing power. Indeed, baby boomers were paid much better at their first burger-flipping jobs than any generation since. (Union jobs were also more prevalent in the ‘60s. But these are the American jobs with zero union members last year.)

Considering how slowly Congress moves to raise wages for the country’s lowest-paid workers, cities, states, and municipalities have increasingly taken it upon themselves to do what the federal government cannot or will not do.

Twenty-four states have increased their minimum wages by legislation or ballot measure since 2016, according to the Economic Policy Institute. These include red states like Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas. The most recent statewide increases are going into effect this summer in Connecticut, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington D.C.

Minimum wage increases are also going into effect in more than a dozen cities and counties, mostly in California.  

To identify the 15 cities and counties that will increase their minimum wages this summer, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed minimum wage increases, tipped wage increases, and type of increase by state and locality data collected by the Economic Policy Institute. Many of these increases are due to automatic inflationary adjustments included in different local wage laws. Most states and the federal government, however, have not instituted inflationary adjustments to fight wage erosion, bowing to pressure from business groups and lobbyists.

The largest increase among the 15 cities and counties on the list is benefitting West Hollywood, California, workers, who are seeing their hourly wage floors increase from $17.50  to $19.08. Berkley, California, San Francisco, and Montgomery County, Maryland, are all increasing their hourly minimum wages by more than $1.

Most states also have an alternative minimum wage for tipped workers. Since 1996, the federal government has allowed employers to pay such workers as little as $2.13 an hour so long as the workers  earn enough from tips to make up for the difference. This wage has also been increased in several states over the years, but including tips as part of an employer’s payroll expenses has been heavily criticized over the years. (Also see what prisoners are paid for forced labor in every state.)

Here are the cities and counties that are increasing their minimum wages this summer.

Cook County, Illinois
> July 2023 minimum wage: $13.70, a $0.35 increase
> Old minimum wage: $13.35

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Chicago, Illinois
> July 2023 minimum wage: $15.80, a $0.40 increase
> Old minimum wage: $15.4

Alameda, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $16.52, a $0.77 increase
> Old minimum wage: $15.75

Montgomery County, Maryland
> July 2023 minimum wage: $16.70, a $1.05 increase
> Old minimum wage: $15.65

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Los Angeles, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $16.78, a $0.74 increase
> Old minimum wage: $16.04

Fremont, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $16.80, a $0.80 increase
> Old minimum wage: $16

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Los Angeles County, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $16.90, a $0.94 increase
> Old minimum wage: $15.96

Malibu, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $16.90, a $0.94 increase
> Old minimum wage: $15.96

Santa Monica, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $16.90, a $0.94 increase
> Old minimum wage: $15.96

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Pasadena, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $16.93, a $0.82 increase
> Old minimum wage: $16.11

Milpitas, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $17.20, a $0.80 increase
> Old minimum wage: $16.4

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Berkeley, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $18.07, a $1.08 increase
> Old minimum wage: $16.99

San Francisco, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $18.07, a $1.08 increase
> Old minimum wage: $16.99

Emeryville, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $18.67, a $0.99 increase
> Old minimum wage: $17.68

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West Hollywood, California
> July 2023 minimum wage: $19.08, a $1.58 increase
> Old minimum wage: $17.5

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