TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey and Delaware are among the 23 states where minimum wage workers will get a pay raise in 2023 as a result of laws passed in previous years.
Delaware's minimum wage rises from $10.50 to $11.75. In June 2021, lawmakers passed a bill that would raise the minimum wage by at least $1 per year until the state rate reached $15 by 2025.
In New Jersey, the minimum wage increases from $13 to $14.13. The increase is part of legislation signed by Governor Phil Murphy in Feb. 2019 that gradually raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
"Putting our minimum wage on a clear path to $15 an hour and setting us among the nation's leading states remains one of my proudest moments," Murphy said in a news release. "This increase will ensure that hundreds of thousands of hardworking people across our state are paid a wage that allows them to provide for their families and live with greater dignity."
Under New Jersey's law, seasonal and small employers were given until 2026 to pay their workers $15 per hour. The minimum hourly wage for these employees increases to $12.93 per hour, up from $11.90.
In Pennsylvania, the minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum. There hasn't been an increase in the Keystone State since 2009.
"More than a dozen cities and states plan to raise wages in 2023 - helping people keep up with the cost of living," Governor Tom Wolf tweeted in September. "Meanwhile in Pennsylvania: Minimum wage is still 7.25/hr; Cities can't raise minimum wages; Republican-led legislature has done nothing to raise it statewide.
"Since I took office, I've called on the Republican-led legislature to raise the minimum wage. Yet for seven years they've done nothing to raise it statewide or allow our cities to raise it themselves. Pennsylvanians can't keep up on $7.25/hr."
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry argues, citing a 2021 report from the Congressional Budget Office, that raising the minimum wage to $15 would lead to an estimated 1.4 million lost jobs nationwide.
The increases in the 23 states account for more than $5 billion in pay boosts for an estimated 8.4 million workers, the Economic Policy Institute estimates.
Additionally, nearly 30 cities and counties across the US will increase their minimum wage, according to the EPI, a left-leaning think tank.
The larger-than-typical increases for a dozen states come after inflation hit a 40-year high this summer, leaving families struggling to keep up with the rising costs.
"The fact that there's high inflation really just underscores how necessary these minimum wage increases are for workers," said Sebastian Martinez Hickey, a research assistant at the EPI. "Even before the pandemic, there was no county in the United States where you could affordably live as a single adult at $15 an hour."
The pandemic and the subsequent period of economic recovery has further revealed the growing chasm in America's wealth gap. During the past two years, working conditions and low pay contributed to a swelling of labor movement activity and actions by many large corporations to raise their wage floor.
The pandemic also led to a structural upheaval in the nation's labor market, creating an imbalance of worker supply and demand that still persists. Employers have found themselves short of workers for most of the year, which has pushed up average annual hourly wages in the battle to recruit and retain staff. While some workers in competitive industries such as retail and dining have found their new salary outpaces inflation, most pay has been outpaced by rising prices.
"The story is different because wages have been increasing at the low-end, much faster than inflation and much faster than in middle- or high-wage jobs," said Michael Reich, economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley. "And that means that many workers, even in the $7.25 states, are already getting paid above the minimum wage."
In other words, he said, the minimum wage "has become less and less binding."
"Even though minimum wages might go up by 7%, in many states and cities, labor costs aren't going to go up anywhere as much as they have in the past, because they already have gone up," he said. "That also means that prices aren't going to go up at [places like] restaurants."
The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour hasn't budged since 2009, and 20 states have a minimum wage either equal to or below the federal level, making $7.25 their default baseline. The value of the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 when it was $1.60, which would be worth about $13.46 in 2022, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator.
States with scheduled minimum wage increases on December 31, 2022, or January 1, 2023:
Delaware: $10.50 to $11.75
Illinois: $12 to $13
Maryland: $12.50 to $13.25
Massachusetts: $14.25 to $15
Michigan: $9.87 to $10.10
Missouri: $11.15 to $12
Nebraska: $9 to $10.50
New Jersey: $13 to $14.13* (scheduled increase also includes inflation adjustment)
New Mexico: $11.50 to $12
New York: $13.20 to $14.20 (Upstate New York); $15 (in and around NYC)
Rhode Island: $12.25 to $13
Virginia: $11 to $12
Cost of living increases of state minimum hourly wages:
Alaska: $10.34 to $10.85
Arizona: $12.80 to $13.85
California: $14.50 (firms with 25 or fewer employees) /$15 (firms with 26+ employees) to $15.50
Colorado: $12.56 to $13.65
Maine: $12.75 to $13.80
Minnesota: $8.42 to $8.63 (small employer); $10.33 to $10.59 (large employer)
Montana: $9.20 to $9.95
Ohio: $9.30 to $10.10
South Dakota: $9.95 to $10.80
Vermont: $12.55 to $13.18
Washington: $14.49 to $15.74
Later in 2023:
Connecticut (effective July 1): $14 to $15
Florida (September 2023): $11 to $12
Nevada (effective July 1): $9.50 to $10.25 (firms that offer benefits); $10.50 to $11.25 (no benefits offered)
Oregon: $13.50 (effective July 1, indexed annual increase to be based on the CPI)
Sources: State websites, National Conference of State Legislatures, Economic Policy Institute
The CNN Wire contributed to this report.