USA Today (01/29/13) Emma Beck
Since, Jan. 1, the minimum wage was increased in 13 states, and automatic wage increases occurred in nine other states. A number of other states are considering proposals to hike the minimum wage for the first time since 2009, when the federal minimum wage was last raised. There are concerns that a jump in labor costs could prompt employers to cut their work forces and employee hours, with small businesses, especially restaurants, hit the hardest. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2011, 1.7 million of the 73.9 million U.S. workers over age 16 paid at hourly rates earned the minimum wage. It remains uncertain when legislation to increase the federal minimum wage to $9.80 over three years and institute annual cost-of-living adjustments will be reintroduced.