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August 3, 2015 – By John L. Micek
These are heady times for the national movement to raise the minimum wage.
Last month, New York state became the latest state to announce it planned to phase in a $15/hour minimum wage for fast-food workers, joining Los Angeles, which will raise its minimum to $15 for all workers by 2021.
And, as most readers are probably aware, Seattle is phasing in the $15 minimum the city adopted last year.
In Pennsylvania, Democratic lawmakers are pushing to raise the wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over the next several years and then index future increases to inflation.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf supports the move, but the chances of a bill getting to his desk in a Republican-controlled General Assembly are slim.
But as the Pew Research Center notes, wide disparity in living cost mean that the buying power of a $15/hr minimum wage differs dramatically depending upon where you live.
For instance, a national $15 minimum wage equates to about $17.08 worth of purchasing power in Macon, Ga., but only $12.26 in New York City, Pew researchers.
In Pennsylvania, by metropolitan area, a national $15 minimum wage, would largely yield between $15 and $17 worth of actual buying power, depending upon where you live.
Here’s the national map. Mouse over it for results: