Los Angeles’ minimum wage going up to $16.04 per hour under annual hike law

Los Angeles' minimum wage going up to $16.04 per hour under annual hike law

Workers in Los Angeles will earn about a dollar more per hour after Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Thursday that the minimum wage will be bumped up to $16.04 beginning in July.

The hourly increase from the $15 per hour rate follows the city’s municipal code that states wages will be increased annually.

“We fought to raise the minimum wage because hard work should always be met with the dignity, respect, and opportunity that fair pay brings,” said Garcetti in a press release. “Our decision to end poverty wages in L.A. caused a ripple effect across the nation, and this additional increase is the latest reason to celebrate today – and a reminder of how our fight for better wages is far from finished.”

The 2015 wage ordinance was one of Garcetti’s most ambitious policies, which outlined a plan to bolster the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020, making L.A. the largest city in the country to implement such an increase.

Per the city’s ordinance, the minimum wage will continue to increase from July 2022 and based on the Consumer Price Index for earners in urban areas and clerical workers in the city.

A "Help Wanted" sign is posted outside a restaurant looking for workers in Los Angeles.
The pay increase was mandated under a 2015 ordinance that set annual increases.
AFP via Getty Images / Frederic J. Brown

While L.A. is the largest city with the $16.04 per hour rate, it is not the highest. Seattle’s minimum wage is $17.27 per hour, while Northern California cities such as Emeryville and Mountain View are $17.13 and $17.10 per hour, respectively.

Garcetti said L.A.’s annual pay adjustment is aimed at ensuring more than 600,000 Angelenos earning a minimum wage will be able to keep pace with inflation.

However, Chris Thornberg, founding partner of research group Beacon Economics, said L.A.’s most recent wage increase is “not as relevant” compared to seven years ago when the ordinance was passed since employers are already having to increase their wages to entice workers.

“California, like many cities in the nation, is suffering from labor shortages, ergo, market clearing wages are already probably above that,” Thornberg told The Post. “Now, if you went to a place like Bakersfield, I do think that minimum wages are having a negative impact on businesses because the clearing wage is significantly lower than Los Angeles. The current labor shortage is really the central issue here at this time.”

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