A salary bump for some workers

There's a bit of good news for workers this January. Eighteen states are seeing raises to their minimum wage due to inflation adjustments or legislative and ballot measures passed by voters.

Janelle Jones, an analyst from the Economic Policy Institute, joined Salon's Alyona Minkovski on "Salon Now" to discuss how even a minor adjustment to wages could have an impact on people's lives.

"Every cent added to their hourly wage is really gonna make a difference for how they can support themselves and their families," Jones said. "It matters in terms of groceries and food and rent and daycare and transportation."

According to EPI, wage increases will provide over $5 billion in additional wages to 4.5 million workers across the country. The lowest raise will be four cents in Alaska and one dollar in Maine.

The federal minimum wage hasn't changed since 2009 and is currently at $7.25. According to EPI, if wages were to reflect productivity, they would be over $19 an hour. It's been left for many states and localities to take it into their own hands to provide higher rates.

While public opinion polling does show bipartisan support for a raise in the federal minimum wage, the figures they accept are still generally below $10 an hour. Jones says that's because expectations are low due to wages being stagnant for years.

To hear more from Jones, watch the video above. Tune into SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

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