Minimum Wage Basics: City Minimum Wage Laws

Recent Trends and Economic Evidence

While the U.S. economy continues to see steady growth and an improvement in the jobless rate, wages have been flat or falling for much of the labor force. This dynamic has prompted a record number of municipal leaders to tackle this problem locally with city minimum wage ordinances that substantially raise the wage floor for low-paid workers in their communities. Equally significant, cities today are calling for higher minimum wages than ever before. With wage levels of $15 per hour or more, these new measures go beyond simply catching up the minimum wage for inflation; they begin to raise pay broadly across the bottom of local economies.

This fact sheet provides an overview of recent trends in local minimum wage ordinances, paying particular attention to how businesses have adjusted to the implementation of local wage increases over time. Overall, the economic evidence indicates that local minimum wages have proven to be effective tools for raising pay and improving job quality without reducing employment or encouraging businesses to leave cities.


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