New York state minimum wage: how does inflation the rate and amount paid?
New Yorkers, particularly those living on the state’s minimum wage, have struggled as the country grapples with historic inflation.
As of 31 December 2021, the minimum wage in New York City, Long Island, or Westchester County is $15 an hour. However, like many tipped workers around the country, those in New York City, can be paid a lower wage. For New York’s remaining residents, the lowest wage that can be paid is $13.50 an hour.
These rates are much lower than what has been calculated by the MIT Living Wage Lab which in 2020 reported that to a “living wage” in New York City for an adult with no children was $25.42. For those with one children, the living wage jumps to $43.18, and for a parent with two children, the Lab calcuated that the living wage would be $53.00. If a household is home to two working adults, the rates for each worker decrease slightly.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for all workers in New York state is $23.46, a few dollars short of what the Living Wage Lab had identified. When looking at the average annual salary, in 2021 it was $70,460.
Workers with the lowest wages in the state included many office and administrative support workers ($13.62/hour or $35,250 a year), Disc Jockeys (non-radio) who made around $13.77/hour, and garment and textile workers ($13.97/ hour or $30,410 a year). Fast food workers across the state had an median hourly wage of $14.96, significantly less than the living wage and less than the $15 average seen in and around New York City.
Inflation in New York 2022
Food (8.8 percent) and energy commodities (29.8 percent) have seen prices increase rapidly over the last year. The inflationary pressure comes as supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and, more recently, the Russian Invasion of Ukraine have caused many firms to increase their prices. New York and New Jersey, these trends have led to an average increase of 6.3 percent throughout the market.
For household staples like meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, New Yorkers are paying on average 13.2 percent more than April 2021. The same is true for fruits and vegetables and dairy products which have seen increases of 8.9 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively.
The New York State Controller has reported that while New York City has been less impacted by inflation than other parts of the country. The office has, however, realized that “price increases [...] may be outstripping earnings growth and squeezing household budgets.”
What support is the state providing?
On 20 May, New York Governor Hochul announced a new program that would provide low-income families with support to cover the costs of childcare.
“I’m very proud to come to this site and announce that we are now going to be distributing $2 billion in childcare subsidies for families and providers. This is the largest investment in childcare in the history of the state of New York,” said the governor. Families will not see these benefits directly, rather, the funds will be distributed to childcare centers which serve low income families.
On average, families are paying 2.5 percent more for childcare than this time last year.