Effective today, the federal minimum wage is now $6.55 per hour -- up from $5.85 -- and a number of states' minimum wages will see a corresponding increase. Today's seventy-cent hike in the federal minimum wage is the second of three provided for in the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The third increase will take place on July 24, 2009, when the rate will rise to $7.25 per hour.
States that link their minimum wage laws with the federal rate -- including North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia -- also adopt the new $6.55/hour rate starting today. (Check minimum wage laws in your state). But Reuters reports that "more than half of U.S. state governments have raised minimum wages on their own above the federal standard, with a handful tying increases to annual inflation, an important criterion as higher energy, food and healthcare costs have cut into earnings."