Jan 2, 2024 - News

Washington has highest state minimum wage in 2024

Minimum wage by state
Data: Paycor; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

For the second year in a row, Washington has the highest statewide minimum wage in the country.

Why it matters: Washington's 2024 wage floor of $16.28 per hour reflects recent rises in inflation, which determine how much the state's minimum wage rises each year.

The big picture: The new minimum wage in Washington is higher than California's, which is $16 per hour. It also tops New York and Massachusetts, which have $15-per-hour minimum wages.

Yes, but: Several U.S. cities have higher minimum wages, including Seattle ($19.97 per hour); Washington, D.C. ($17 per hour); and West Hollywood, California ($19.08 per hour).

Reality check: It takes more than Washington state's minimum wage to comfortably afford the state's typical rent.

  • Full-time workers earning the new minimum wage will make just under $34,000 per year.
  • Meanwhile, the average apartment rent in Washington state costs more than $21,000 per year.
  • That's according to the Washington Center for Real Estate Research, which pegged the average statewide apartment rent at about $1,760 per month in the third quarter of 2023.

Of note: Twenty-one other states also raised their minimum wages Jan. 1, Axios' Emily Peck reports.

  • Twenty more states follow the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which was last raised in 2009.
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