Arizona’s minimum wage likely to jump 10 cents in 2017

A shot of modest inflation last month likely was enough to guarantee Arizona’s minimum wage will climb 10 cents to $8.15 an hour in 2017, although voters could boost it higher in November.

The Consumer Price Index reading released Friday showed inflation for all urban consumers rose 1.1 percent in the past 12 months. With rounding, that’s enough to add a dime to wages for the state’s lowest-paid workers under the formula Arizona uses to calculate its inflation-adjusted minimum wage.



The expected change means a full-time minimum-wage worker in Arizona would figure to earn $16,952 in 2017, or $208 more than this year. Business owners who must pay the higher wage have said in the past that relatively few people remain at the minimum wage for multiple years.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 Arizona had about 44,000 workers, about 2.7 percent of all hourly employees, who earned minimum wage (or less if they received tips).

MORE: Poll says most Arizona voters buy a $12 minimum wage

Last year’s low inflation meant the Industrial Commission of Arizona did not change the wage for 2016. The commission isn’t expected to formally announce the minimum wage level for 2017 until mid-October. Any changes must be in 5-cent increments.arizona s minimum wage

The expected change in the minimum wage comes as voters will decide in November whether to hike it to $12 an hour by 2020. If passed, Proposition 206 would push the minimum wage to $10 an hour beginning in January.

An Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll last month found the measure doing well with registered voters. Business groups have warned such labor-cost hikes could undermine job creation by encouraging automation in lieu of additional workers.

The Republic’s poll, conducted while a court fight was still ongoing over whether the measure qualified for the ballot, found 61 percent of registered voters would support the wage hike; 31 percent were opposed. The remaining 8 percent were undecided.

Arizona has adjusted its minimum wage annually to reflect changes in inflation since voters passed a measure requiring it in 2006.

In that time, the minimum wage moved from the federally mandated $5.15 an hour in 2006 to the state’s $8.05 an hour today.

Arizona’s minimum wage remains higher than the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t changed from $7.25 an hour since 2009.

Prop. 206 drew its strongest support from predictable quarters: 87 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of voters ages 18 to 35, and 65 percent of people with a high-school diploma or less, the poll found.

It was popular across nearly every demographic category, with majorities of both men and women, college-educated voters, and voters of all ages backing the measure.

Reach the reporter at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ronaldjhansen.

English: This is a history of minimum wage inc...

English: This is a history of minimum wage increases under the 1938 act. This is current as of September 2009, with the inflation adjustment going to August 2009, the latest data. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Source: Arizona’s minimum wage likely to jump 10 cents in 2017


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