Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans are getting a raise starting in the New Year. The state’s minimum wage will go up ten cents from $7.85 an hour to $7.95 an hour. The automatic boost comes from a policy known as indexing, which Ohio has adopted along with 11 other states. Indexing raises the minimum wage to account for increases to the cost of living.
Jack Temple, a policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, says the extra ten cents an hour can go a long way.
Protests demanding a raise in the minimum wage have been spreading across the country, and the movement made its way to Dayton for the first time. On Thursday, union-backed groups reported events in over 100 cities; some involved worker walk-outs, but many were protests or demonstrations in front of fast food and retail outlets.
Outside the McDonald’s in downtown Dayton around lunchtime, a small crowd gathered near the road, rallying drivers to honk in support. The protesters’ complaint: Ohio’s minimum wage of $7.85 isn’t enough to actually live on.
Unemployment numbers are out for August, and Ohio’s rate was right in line with the national rate of 7.3 percent. But while the U.S. unemployment rate went from above 8 percent in August 2012 to 7.3 percent in August 2013, the state numbers actually ticked up slightly from last month and last year.
Ohio's minimum wage is set to increase 30 cents to $7.70 per hour on Jan.1.
The increase is part of a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2006, which says minimum wage will increase each year at the rate of inflation. The liberal think tank Policy Matters Ohio says data shows an estimated 347,000 workers will receive wage increases.
The $7.70 rate applies to workers 16 and older who don't get tips. The wage for tipped employees will be $3.85, up 15 cents, but their total pay cannot be less than $7.70 hourly.