Michigan is one of 18 states where employees will receive an increase in paychecks beginning January 1. Specifically, Michigan’s minimum wage will increase $0.35, raising the minimum wage to $9.25. This is the last increase under the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, which passed back in May 2014.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wage increase will directly benefit 257,000 employees. It will also result in a total increase in annual wages of $219,846,000 for Michigan employees.
In contrast, the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25, has not increased since 2009. In inflation-adjusted terms, the federal minimum wage was highest in 1968, when it was equal to $11.18 in today’s dollars. Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post reports puts the federal minimum wage in perspective.
Among the world’s wealthy nations, the United States is an outlier on this issue: Americans have the lowest national minimum wage, relative to the median wage, of any of the wealthy nations represented in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
It is also worth noting that America’s low minimum wage relative to other nations is further exacerbated when you consider workers in other countries often receive many benefits their US counterparts do not. Such benefits include universal health care, paid maternity leave, retirement pensions, and generous vacation leave.