The minimum wage in more than 20 states and 26 cities and counties across the United States increased on Jan. 1, affecting more than half of the country's population and marking the greatest jurisdictional raise in U.S. history. Of the states and municipalities increasing their minimum wage, 17 will hit or surpass $15 an hour. Four more states and 23 more cities and counties will join later in the year. "Next year's increase is … going to be seen as the highest number of minimum wage increases of any time," said Yannet Lathrop, a researcher at the National Employment Law Project (NELP). Lanthrop argues "These increases will put much-needed money into the hands of the lowest-paid workers, many of whom struggle with high and ever-increasing costs of living." But opponents of raising the minimum wage say the result could be fewer jobs. If employers have to pay their workers $15 an hour, they'll hire less workers, the reasoning goes.
That said, most experts do agree that America’s problem is not quantity of jobs (as there are plenty available in most areas) instead the problem is the quality of jobs. Too many of the available jobs across the nation are low paying or offer little to no benefits.
Unfortunately for many local workers, the minimum wage remains stagnant. There is no increase in the minimum wage scheduled for West Virginia or Pennsylvania. Ohio workers will see a slight increase in the minimum wage from $8.55 to $8.70 in 2020.