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Flagstaff’s minimum wage set to increase to $16.80

Minimum wage AP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP, file
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Demonstrators called for a $15 federal minimum wage in front of the U.S. Capitol in February 2021.

The City of Flagstaff will raise its minimum wage to $16.80 an hour at the beginning of next year. It’s a jump of $1.30 and comes as inflation across the country remains at a 40-year high.

As of Jan. 1, 2023 increases in Flagstaff’s minimum wage will be tied to the cost of living. It’s based on the national consumer price index calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency Tuesday released its numbers for August, which shows an 8.3% increase from the same month last year.

"When you’re above 8% that is certainly high. We usually look around 2 or 3% in a normal year so we’re certainly exceeding that on a national level. We’re just going to work with employees to make sure that they get the wages they’re entitled to under our laws and work with businesses to help them prepare for what’s coming," says Chris Rhode, who oversees the Flagstaff Office of Labor Standards.

Flagstaff’s minimum wage is the highest in Arizona and is currently $15.50. It’s the result of a local 2016 citizen ballot initiative that set the wage higher than the state’s.

Arizona also bases its increases on the consumer price index and will see a jump from $12.80 to $13.85 Jan. 1, 2023. The Industrial Commission of Arizona is expected adopt the increase at its meeting Thursday.

The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.