Country's Highest Minimum Wage Goes Higher

The San Francisco minimum wage is the highest in the country

The highest minimum wage in the United States rises even higher today.

San Francisco's locally-mandated minimum wage is now $10.55 per hour. The minimum wage here is tied to local inflation rates, and has risen steadily since the local minimum wage law was passed by voters in 2003.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25. San Francisco's minimum wage rose from $8.50 in 2004 to $10.24 last year on January 1.

There is considerable disagreement over whether a minimum wage so high helps or hurts low-income workers and employers. Industry lobbyists say that the minimum wage makes it so costly for employers to hire staff -- with the city's mandated health care spending, $13 per hour per worker is the "floor," or cheapest rate at which help can be hired -- that it increases unemployment, the Examiner reported.

A study in 2004 conducted by UC Berkeley found that the wage increase had no impact on jobs or encouraging employers to leave the city.

Another economist said that the high minimum wage discourages employers from hiring teenagers due to the higher labor costs, the newspaper reported.

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