In Colorado, the 14¢ increase, to $7.78 per hour, will benefit 66,000 workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). For employees who work full time, the increase means an additional $300 for the year.
On January 1, 74,000 low-wage workers in Colorado will get a 3.8 percent raise when the state's minimum wage goes up by 28¢ to $7.64 per hour. For employees who work full-time all year, this amounts to $582 more per year.
Voters approved Amendment 42 to Colorado's constitution in 2006, raising the minimum wage and requiring that the wage to be adjusted each year by the rate of inflation in Colorado. Inflation increased by 3.8 percent between July 2010 and June 2011, according to the Boulder-Denver-Greeley Consumer Price Index.
The Legislative Council staff's June economic forecast, released last week, shows Colorado continuing "to suffer through one of its worst downturns in over 50 years." Unemployment reached a two-decade high – Colorado's rate was 7.6 percent in May – and the council's economists expect things to worsen. Their forecast shows the average unemployment rate rising to 9.6 percent in 2010.