Washington’s minimum wage will increase to $9.04 per hour beginning Jan. 1, the Department of Labor & Industries announced on Friday.
L&I calculates the state’s minimum wage each year as required by Initiative 688, approved by state voters in 1998. The 37-cent increase reflects a 4.258 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) since August 2010.
The CPI-W, which is used in this calculation, is a measure of the average change in prices over time of goods and services purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers. Goods and services are determined as those things people buy for day-to-day living such as food, clothing, shelter, and fuels, and services such as doctor visits.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, largest cost increases occurred for fuels and the lowest cost increases were for education and communication services.
Washington is one of 10 states that adjusts the minimum wage based on inflation and the CPI. The others are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont.
Washington has the highest minimum wage, followed by Oregon, which recently announced that its minimum wage will rise 30 cents to $8.80 an hour in 2012.
Washington’s minimum wage applies to workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.68 in 2012.