EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 6, 2013

No minimum wages increases for N.H,, Mass.

State pays federal minimum of $7.25

Across the country, the new year ushered in much-welcomed pay increases for workers earning minimum wage in 10 states.

But for New Hampshire and Massachusetts residents, there was nothing.

Granite State workers continue to earn the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Bay State minimum-wage employees receive an hourly wage of $8.

New Hampshire is the only New England state that doesn’t pay more than than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

The 10 states to raise their minimum wage include Vermont and Rhode Island. Vermont’s minimum hourly rate rose from $8.46 to $8.60 — the third-highest in the country — while the minimum wage in Rhode Island rose from $7.40 to $7.75.

The other states to see increases are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Washington, which has the highest minimum wage in the country at $9.19 per hour.

New Hampshire isn’t alone in paying only $7.25 an hour. Twenty-nine other states also pay the federal minimum, according to David Cooper, an economic analyst with the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. A handful of states with minimum wages below $7.25 are required to pay the federal rate, he said.

The institute and the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit advocacy group based in New York City, have compiled detailed analyses of the minimum wage increases.

Cooper and National Employment Law Project attorney Tsedeye Gebreselassie conclude the increases will be beneficial to those 10 states, bolstering their economies and raising the wages for nearly a million working-class people.

The average annual pay for those workers will rise between $190 and $510 per person, depending on the state.

Cooper said putting more money in the hands of low-income workers by raising the minimum wage has a widespread effect, stimulating the economy and leading to pay raises for more affluent workers as well.

He said Vermont is a perfect example of a state where raising the minimum wage has had a dramatic effect. The state’s rate has increased annually since 2005, based on an inflation and cost-of-living index.

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