Oct 1, 2011 2:29 PM by Mark Holyoak
Montana's minimum wage will increase from $7.35 to $7.65 per hour on January 1, 2012.
The move takes place to keep pace with the rising cost of living as required by state law passed by Montana voters in 2006. The change means an additional $624 per year in wages for a full-time minimum wage worker.
Christine Owen of the National Employment Law Project said, "Wages are falling as a result of staggering unemployment, slow job creation, and declining unionization. These modest annual minimum wage increases are one of the few policies that counteract declining wage trends and prevent America's lowest-paid workers from falling even further behind."
Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates above the federal level of $7.25 per hour, which is just over $15,000 per year for a full-time minimum wage earner.
Unlike the federal rate - which loses value every year it is not increased by an act of Congress - ten states increase their minimum wage rates annually to ensure that real wages for the lowest paid workers do not fall even further behind: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.