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January 2, 2019

Minimum wage increase seen boosting pay for 143,000 Mainers this year

Courtesy / 401(K) 2012, Flickr
Courtesy / 401(K) 2012, Flickr
Approximately 143,000 Mainers will see their wages go up this year as a result of the $1 an hour minimum wage increase that took effect on Jan. 1, according to the Maine Center for Economic Policy.

The $1-an-hour state minimum wage increase that took effect on Jan. 1 will boost pay for 143,000 Mainers in 2019, according to the Maine Center for Economic Policy.

Over the course of the year, it estimates that one in four Mainers will receive a direct or indirect benefit from the minimum hourly wage going up from $10 an hour to $11 an hour.

Yearly increases were approved by voters in 2016. As of Jan. 1, the center estimates that 15.2% of all workers in the state — or about 87,200 people — will benefit directly from raises as of Jan. 1.

Those Mainers' average wage increase adds up to about $1,040 in additional earnings per year. All told told, those low-wage earners are expected to take home close to $91 million more in wages in 2019, according to the center's analysis.

Over the course of the year, Maine can expect to see nearly 56,000 additional workers benefit indirectly from the minimum-wage increase, according to David Cooper, a senior economic analyst at the center.

"With direct and indirect raises factored," he said, "one in four Mainers will benefit from 2019's minimum wage increase."

Those workers expected to benefit indirectly from the minimum wage increase make up 9.8% of Maine's workforce and are projected to take home an additional $20.3 million next year.

Yearly wage increases approved by Maine voters in 2016 mean that the minimum wage will go up every year through Jan. 20, 2020, when it will go up to $12 an hour. Starting on Jan. 1, 2021, increases will be tied to inflation.

The federal minimum wage has not changed since 2009, when it went up from $6.55 an hour to $7.25 an hour.

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