Alaska’s minimum wage goes up to $11.73, Washington state’s will be $16.28

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The Washington State minimum wage rate for nonexempt employees 16 years of age and older will increase 3.4 percent over the 2023 rate to $16.28 per hour in 2024.

Overtime exempt workers in Washington State must be paid at twice the annual minimum wage rate, regardless of employer size. McDonald’s restaurants in the Puget Sound area are recruiting entry level workers for $18 an hour.

Alaska’s minimum wage will increase from $10.85 to $11.73 an hour. Wages go up automatically after a 2014 citizen initiative passed. McDonald’s in Anchorage pays between $11 and $17 an hour.

The average annual pay for a “Livable in Seattle” is $64,489 a year, according to ZipRecruiter. That works out to be approximately $31 an hour or $1,240 a week.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual pay for a “Livable Salary in Alaska” is $69,341 a year, or about $33.34 an hour. This comes out to $1,333 a week.

50 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Must Read for pointing this out. People who live in Washington are “awake” (no, not “woke”), and are proud of their efforts to pay people something closer to a living wage than the people of Alaska apparently are. But having said that, such wage levels are clearly inadequate to fund a lifestyle that MR readers would accept. And we all wonder why our parks and public spaces are filled with the homeless…

    • You will still be wondering why our parks and public spaces are filled with the homeless even if the minimum wage were doubled.
      The amount of the wage has nothing to do with curing the mental handicap from drug and alcohol abuse for which our ASSembly members have strangled all efforts of the mayor and his team to provide a path to recovery for the folks that need professional help.
      When assembly members are in position to make six figure salaries “working” to find a solution to the homeless situation it is no wonder progress has not been made and the numbers of homeless are growing.

      Nonprofits are a very lucrative business to work for. The benefits are endless as long as the taxpayers keep paying and more of them end up in the homeless camp for failure to pay taxes on a home of their own.
      Its a vicious circle…

    • Hans, you deliver the obvious solution. A ticket (one way) to SEA. If a person has no skills or the initiative to gain those skills and their aspiration is a career at the deep fryer, then by all means move to the best wage for that lack of initiative or talent. Now, AK has no income tax, WA does, income, local taxes… so there is more than wages to consider. But transferring the low motivation people anywhere else is a win for AK.

        • Why not? Their behavior THERE caused that to happen. Alcoholism and mental illness is the major source of the problem here. Those people need to be held accountable or placed in a facility for treatment. Continuing a self destructive lifestyle is not what responsible societies do. Reliance on a minimum wage job to make a living is not a life. Training to those who take the initiative to accept it. Mental health facilities who cannot otherwise be treated and ONE last chance for the alcoholics then withdraw public funded assistance. If SEA has a different viewpoint let THEM waste their resources on a problem that requires accountability from both the individual and from society. Tough love.
          I notice you don’t offer a solution of your own. Is the status quo your answer?

    • Hans, it might sound good, but you understand the unintended consequences of such actions, I presume. Products and services will get more expensive for all and that extra income will go towards the extra cost, paying for things you already buy. It does nothing to actually raise the standard of living. A little know fact is when the minimum wage goes up, public sector union members automatically all get a raise too, as their enumeration is based on that standard. More tax money spent for the same level of service, forcing government to raise the tax rate or cut services…..
      Ironically certain larger food service companies in California are now require to pay their workers a minimum of $20/hour. Pizza Hut is laying OFF 1200 delivery drivers and customers now have to employ one of the generic delivery services. So instead of having a job, these people are now unemployed. This measure can easily be seen as contributing to the homeless issue…

    • People are paid according to how much value they produced, not according to an arbitrary government mandate. I just feel sorry for all those saps who are going to get fired because their skills only produce $11.72 worth of value. For them, their wages will drop to $0.00 an hour.

    • You really have no idea how basic economics works, do you?
      This simply translates to less people working and more automation, along with higher prices for consumers, of course.

    • Hans, your’s is low resolution thinking. You are extolling the fallacy that everyone on minimum wage is of the same demographic and same needs. A highschool student working at his first job needs only $5/hr because he is supported by his parents; the real value he obtains is in the experience and sense of responsibility he learns. However, you lump him with adults trying to make ends meet on wages. You fail to understand the need to let the free market function freely.

    • Here’s what people like you never understood: The minimum wage was never meant to be a “living” wage. It is meant to be compensation for entry level positions. If you are relying on a job at McDonalds for a living, you have cheated yourself out of a free education the government already gave you. If you didn’t develop any viable skills, that’s on you. Throwing money at people to perform unskilled labor will not bring about your socialist utopia.

    • We don’t wonder at all. The more woke communities like Seattle and Anchorage spend on the homeless, the more you’re gonna have.

      Capitalism 101. You are getting what you are paying for.

      I won’t even bother explaining to you what the purpose of a minimum wage is. It would go over your head.

      • Is that why you were shaking in your boots when you resigned? Or am I going over your head? Might want to get that money you funnelled back to the Birthright owner. Better hurry before that One catches a flight to the ICC.

    • Sure, and just look at the increase in prices for everything. It won’t be long and that $16 + is the new $7.50. Next the cry will be unskilled labor needs $25 ph to keep their heads above water.

    • Our homeless issue has nothing to do with any wage. It is about mental illness and addiction, mostly alcohol combined with an absolute lack of accountability. The mentally ill should be placed in clean compassionate locked facilities where they can be treated for their illnesses. The drunks should be given one last chance at long term inpatient detox and rehab. Society expects that it’s members should make an attempt to make an effort to contribute to their own well-being. Raising the minimum wage does nothing too make that happen, training and education do enable people to fend for themselves. Don’t confuse homelessness with economics.

    • Hans, my impression of the readers here, from most of their comments, appear to hold a position requiring higher education or a trade and have opinions based on their experiences, acquired knowledge and skills. They earn their compensation by improving their skill set and knowledge base. I have the impression YOU would not accept MW either.

      Minimum wage is a trap.
      It is the nanny government’s way to tell you that you are not capable (in their estimation) to make something of yourself. It removes the incentive for people to strive for better, learn more skills and direct their own path.
      A few years ago I read an article in which government officials decried the lack of skilled tradesmen, like plumbers, electricians and mechanics. What they ignored is that minimum wage is keeping potential future tradesmen, who have realized they are not college material, stuck asking: “Do you want fries with that??”

  2. The only saving grace is that for some time minimum wages in most of the country have been too low to be meaningful. As Ms. Downing points out, even McDonald’s (perhaps the epitome of an unskilled job) pays more than minimum wage even after the increase.

    • Don’t be a snob. We need GenZ generation and their families to see the value behind serving an employer and customers from a uniform. They won’t see the value behind any employment from adults snubbing types of occupations. While the adult child’s parent will be paying for their adult child until they are 30 or 50 years old because of pride. Crew members for McDonalds have risen up to become shift managers to even one day owning the restaurant.

      • Perhaps a bit of projection here? I never said anything even bordering on snobbery; I merely stated an objective fact. The truth is that we are all born with exactly zero marketable skills; entry-level jobs (such as working at a fast food restaurant) are often the vehicle through which people learn their first skills and are a critical first step in many people’s professional lives. As you mention, there are numerous cases of fry cooks going on to own restaurants of their own and that’s awesome; wouldn’t it be a shame if a prohibitively high minimum wage prevented that fry cook from being hired in the first place?

  3. And we wonder about homelessness. cOmmunism doesn’t work comrade. “Ve vill have nothink in ve vill be hoppy.”

  4. So! Now Washington workers will be making 20.00 an hour? Most employees will set their wages 5.00 more. I can tell you these types of jobs found more commitment out if their workers at 11.00 than15.00 than it’ll be 20.00. More money isn’t everything.
    The only thing it’ll do is make the entire Northwest states from California to Alaska just as expensive as Hawaii. The Polynesians who came to Alaska from Hawaii or Samoa or Togon will have to find a new state less expensive. That’s Polynesians they left Hawaii because it’s too expensive for a living while leaving very few Indigenous Polynesians on the Hawaiian islands. I wonder what Alaska will look like without or fewer Alaska Natives? Most younger Native Alaskans under 56 have been moving out of the state of Alaska. They found other states better for family life.

    • As we approach a new year in which we are quite likely to witness the second coming of Christ how should we approach this? Teach the kids: “Owe no man no thing”, work, keep in expectation of Him. Families in AK used to not chat about these things with their kids. I hope they do now. We will live forever on a clean earth and we can assume the neighbors know God well and are approved by Him and were saved personally by Him.

  5. WOW(!) … A delta of $4.55/hr might entice our homeless to move to Seattle?!?! Same for California, where the minimum wage will be $16. If we transport our homeless to Seattle or SF – LA (ie: charter flights just like how Texas is transporting illegals to Chicago and New York), it would certainly be an economic windfall for Anchorage Taxpayers and I’m certainly in favor of this endeavor, providing a much more desirable lifestyle and economic opportunity for them.

    • Won’t work. Our welfare system in Alaska pays higher than any other state. We are kind of like a dirt magnet. Private sector employment is very low and trending even lower.

  6. As long as the Democrats continue to devalue the worth of the dollar, by spending like drunk fisherman, increasing wages will follow.
    Couple that with the continued shipping of skilled jobs and manufacturing overseas, makes for the perfect storm for the working class.
    For us that are on a fixed income we are screwed. Thank you to the sorry Joe “the jerk” Biden.

  7. Minimum wage is stupid. People should get paid based on the difficultly and quality of their work, as determined by their employer. If you work harder, and do better, your employer will reward you. Minimum wage is just a crutch for poor workers.

    DJT2024!

    • Right on, though I would add your value is also determined by your employer’s competitors. Without competition, you can’t shop your services around in a competitive market.

  8. Minimum wage was never intended to be a ‘living wage’ it was intended for entry level employees most often teens and college students on their way to improved skills, education and careers allowing them a real living wage. Washington is just creating an extended culture of entitlement, dependence and lack of aspiration to do better. Alaskans are a little more in touch with reality.

    • Regardless of what it was intended, the heaviest economic brain trust in Western culture, Adam Smith, Friedman, T Sowell, W Williams, etal, all agreed minimum wage is a travesty of government over-reach; the essence of Friedman’s adage: “Its a great mistake to judge any program by intentions rather than results.”

  9. When you set new minimum wages for no or low-skilled workers above what the labor market value is for that labor, you are going to distort the marketplace.
    The market uses price signals to determine the value of labor, and the value of an entry-level no or low-skill job is nominal — given you need no prior skills nor education to perform the task.
    Setting minimum wages and raising minimum wages just makes labor for no and low-skill jobs more expensive WITHOUT ADDING ANY VALUE. Meaning, it is welfare imposed on the free market and someone is going to have to pay for it. HINT: It won’t be government.
    The first to pay the price will be those no and low-skill workers, no doubt many of them young people with few skills and limited job opportunities who will be laid off: the REAL minimum wage is ZERO (unemployed).
    Next will be consumers through increased costs for goods and services.

  10. People think that a minimum wage protects the most vulnerable from being abused or taken advantage of by employers. A false belief founded in the “Capitalists are evil” theory where only the government can save us. The truth is that a minimum wage ONLY exists to stop people who WANT to work for the wage offered when the wage doesn’t meet what the government wants. A minimum wage is the GOVERNMENT telling the CITIZEN that he or she CANNOT work for a wage they would otherwise freely accept. So who is being protected? Obviously not the willing worker or the employer. It’s worse than you think, though, because if the employer is forced to pay a wage higher than he can afford the employer will either go out of business and fire ALL of his employees or the employer will switch from labor to capital. Instead of a human preparing your fast food a machine will do it. Instead of a human checking your purchases at the register you’ll “self serve” yourself at a machine. A minimum wage actually results in higher unemployment of the lowest wage earners…aka the most vulnerable. So go ahead and cheer higher minimum wages and support hurting the most vulnerable segments of society.

  11. Minimum wage laws are always counterproductive. The negatives are many… positives are few. Replacement by robots is one, and it will happen faster. Jobs for teens will be scarce. These are socialist laws put in place by those who don’t know much. Please research.

    • Yes, well said Neal!

      The REAL minimum wage is actually zero, which is what those entry-level workers who have been priced out of the employment market by governmental price-fixing will actually earn, in the job that they were never able to obtain.

  12. If it’s true that Type III Diabetes is a precursor to Alzheimers and other forms of dementia then the increase in minimum wage at WA McDonald’s should equate to a reduction in the percentage of future dementia patients. Cost prohibitive fast food is not all bad.

  13. I do find it funny that leftists had been fighting for increases in minimum wages for ages. Biden wiped out all that effort with two years of socialist stagflation. $11 minimum wage is pointless when it takes $20 to get someone to show up. The rest are just applying for positions so they can keep collecting welfare after Democrats quietly gutted the 90’s ‘back to work’ reforms.

  14. Minimum wage is not a living wage. Instead of mass importing people with no connection to western civilization to live off of welfare and spending 20 years to learn English while running a cash register / fishing line / how to lean on a swivel sign on a DOT job we should employ Alaskans to run these jobs while the continue to improve, get more skills, get a job where they can support a family.
    Shut up adn tourists in the comments. We don’t need any more exotic restaurants. Cook books are a thing. We need sustaining jobs for alaskans without government interference.

  15. Employers don’t pay you based on what you need. They pay you based on how much you can produce. If you want a higher wage, produce more for your employer!

  16. The happy meal will suffer shrinkage and double in price. Better learn how to cook. The entry level position is already just a transition until they learn how to work the system to get free money from the government. It would be more productive to be able to legally pay these low skill employees tax free money especially if they are not already dependents. Maybe it’s the government that is being greedy here and not the employer. Fifty cents worth of food product turns into a 15 dollar meal to the consumer thanks to the government. Employees have become the number one expense at least in the food and hospitality industry, thanks to the government. The paycheck they receive only represents half of the employer’s (if that) investment in that employee. Any employer can tell you this. And any employer would rather see the employees benefit than the government because the government doesn’t directly contribute to the bottom line, and only show up when not needed.

    • They are not leaving, they are just moving out of places like Anchorage. Its becoming a ghost town, void of people who seek out a future. Check out the facts before throwing out your dirt.

  17. How much do the people in the homeless camps make? The ones not selling fentanyl? How much would they make after the minimum wage increase?

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