Washington's minimum wage will increase to $9.04 per hour beginning Jan. 1, the Department of Labor & Industries announced this week.
The department calculates the state's minimum wage each year as required by Initiative 688, approved by Washington voters in 1998. The 37-cent jump reflects a nearly 4.3 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers since August 2010.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' news release, during the past year, the prices of most categories of consumer goods rose. Fuels went up the most, and the cost of education and communication services grew the least.
Washington has the highest minimum wage, followed by Oregon. Oregon recently announced that its minimum wage will increase 30 cents to $8.80 an hour in 2012.
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Washington's minimum wage applies to workers in agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.68 in 2012.
More information on Washington's minimum wage is available at wages.lni.wa.gov.