MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — About 219,000 Minnesota workers are getting the pay hike.

The minimum wage for small businesses is now $8.01 an hour. And for large employers it goes up to $9.86 an hour.

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Many workers think it is still too low. The full pay hike of 21-cents an hour adds up to about $436.80 a year. And even at the higher level, it’s a yearly paycheck of about $20,800 — barely at the poverty level.

Minnesota now has the highest minimum wage in the Upper Midwest.

Midwest Minimum Wage

  • Minnesota: $9.86
  • Wisconsin: $7.25
  • Iowa: $7.25
  • North Dakota: $7.25
  • South Dakota: $9.10
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    (credit: CBS)

    Despite predictions of major job losses with a higher minimum wage, that’s not what happened. Minnesota’s unemployment rate is at a near record low of 2.8 percent.

    And the number of workers at a record high: 3,000,000 Minnesota workers.

    Even so, lower-paid workers are barely keeping up. In 1970, Minnesota’s minimum wage was $1.60. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $21,800 a year. That is $1,000 more than what workers earning the new minimum wage will take home now.

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    Minnesota’s full minimum wage now tops the federal minimum wage by more than 2.50 an hour. California, Massachusetts and Washington have the highest state minimum wages at $12 an hour.