In his Jan. 28 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Last year, the President issued a similar call, but the amount was $9 an hour.
Currently, the federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour, although it is higher in individual states. A list of minimum wage by state can be seen here.
“Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here,” the President said. “Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.”
He noted that five states have already raised the minimum wage in the last year. And he called on businesses to act on their own, arguing that corporations like Costco see it as a way “to boost productivity and reduce turnover.”
In a statement, National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay countered that minimum wage will lead only to “minimum opportunities.”
“We welcome the President’s focus on the economy and jobs, but a minimum wage hike runs counter to that goal,” Shay said. “Raising the minimum wage would place a new burden on employers…. It’s simple math—if the cost of hiring goes up, hiring goes down.”
He added that only five percent of hourly workers are currently paid the minimum wage, noting it is mostly for teenagers and others with little job experience.