25 states increased their minimum wage at the start of 2022. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania was not among them.
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is currently an embarrassingly low $7.25 an hour, the same rate its been stuck at for 13 years. The commonwealth is one of 20 states that have tied their minimum wage to the federal rate, which thanks to partisan gridlock in Washington hasn’t moved an inch since 2009.
Meanwhile, Delaware’s minimum wage went up to $10.50 in 2022, and will reach $15 an hour in 2025. Across the river, New Jersey’s minimum wage is currently $13 an hour, set to reach $15 an hour by 2026.
In fact, every state that borders Pennsylvania has a higher minimum wage, even Republican-run West Virginia, which former President Donald Trump won by nearly 40 percentage points in in the 2020 election.
Right now, a shortage in the labor market is causing wages to rise, but that won’t always be the case. When the pendulum swings back and workers find themselves competing for jobs, the minimum wage will be an important tool in preventing wages from sliding downward.
“In truth, a very small fraction of workers actually earns $7.25 per hour. Yet the minimum wage is the floor against which employers price their pay,” economics researcher Matthew Jeffrey Vegari wrote in the Inquirer. “An increase to the minimum wage will prove far more important in the long run, when labor market conditions cool.”
Pennsylvania failed its 10-year challenge, and we’re heading into year 14. Let’s see what 2022 has in store.