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Forget Congress, these US states raised the minimum wage on their own

In 2015 low-wage workers in 21 states and the District of Columbia will see an increase in income but the federal minimum wage, however, remains at $7.25

US states raised the minimum wage


Powered by article titled “Forget Congress, these US states raised the minimum wage on their own” was written by Jana Kasperkevic and Siri Srinivas, for on Thursday 1st January 2015 17.40 UTC

For some workers, there is more to celebrate this New Year’s Day than the end of 2014 . In 21 states and the District of Columbia, the new year brings with it a pay raise for those earning a minimum wage.

In his State of the Union address last year, Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, which has been at .25 since July 2009, to .10.

The following day, the president echoed that sentiment while speaking at Costco: “Right now in Congress, there’s a bill that would lift the federal minimum wage to .10 an hour – .10 – .10, it’s easy.”

Tired of waiting for Congress to move on the issue of minimum wage, a number of US states have taken matters into their own hands.


Alaskans should see their minimum wage increased in 2015, but they have to wait for the election results of the 4 November ballot initiative to be certified. The first pay increase to .75 an hour from .75 will take place 90 days from the certification, which be probably at the end of February, says Ed Flanagan, chair of Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage.

US Money Alaska voting
Zoe Buck checks out an empty voting booth as her mother votes at the Alaska Zoo polling place in Anchorage. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP


Arizona passed the Raise the Minimum Wage for Working Arizonians act in 2006. The law gives the Industrial Commission of Arizona the authority to raise the minimum wage based on the cost of living measured by the consumer price index of all urban consumers (CPI-U). The 1.7% rise in the index between in the one year before August 2014 was applied to the state’s existing minimum wage of .90 per hour. The new rate is .05 per hour.


Arkansas is one of the US states where minimum wage was lower than the federally mandated .25. That is, until 1 January. Thanks to a minimum wage ballot initiative, Arkansas low-wage workers will see their pay go up to .50 from .25 The minimum wage is then set to increase again in 2016 to and in 2017 to .50.


Colorado’s minimum wage saw an automatic hike on Thursday to .23 and .21 per hour for tipped employees.

The adjustment is dictated by Article XVIII, Section 15, of the Colorado Constitution, which requires the Colorado minimum wage to be adjusted annually for inflation, on the lines of the Consumer Price Index for Colorado. The new rates replace 2014’s general rate of .00 and .98 for tipped employees.


At .70 an hour, Connecticut’s minimum wage was already higher than the federal minimum wage of .25. The state, however, passed a law to gradually increase it to .10 in the next three years. Connecticut was the first state to gradually raise its minimum wage to .10. On Thursday the state’s minimum wage increased to .15.


Florida’s minimum wage will rise to .05 on Friday, up from .93, following a 2004 amendment to labor laws that will adjust the minimum wage to match inflation. This increase will benefit an estimated 416,000 low-wage workers according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Obama Hawaii
Obama plays golf at the Clipper Golf course on Marine Corps Base Hawaii during his Christmas holiday vacation in Kaneohe. Photograph: Hugh Gentry/Reuters


Hawaii, where President Obama celebrated the New Year, is also one of the states leading the way on higher minimum wage. While this year its minimum wage is only going up 50 cents to .75, in the next two years it will go up 75 cents each year reaching .25 by 2017. In 2018, it will jump to .10. Along with Connecticut, Hawaii was one of the first states to gradually increase its minimum wage to .10.


Connecticut might have been the first, but it was not that only state to work toward .10. In May, Maryland’s governor Martin O’Malley signed a legislation that increases the state’s minimum wage to .10 by 2018. On 1 January it increased to from .25. It will then go up another quarter in July – reaching .25.


Low-wage workers in Massachusetts will see their pay go up to a hour. That’s a boost. That’s not all. Forget .10. Thanks to a bill approved by the state’s legislature and signed into a law by Governor Deval Patrick, the state will have a minimum wage of an hour come January 2017.


A July reading of the Midwest Consumer Price will take Missouri’s minimum wage up to .65 from .50. All businesses are required to pay at minimum the .65 per hour rate, except retail and service businesses whose annual gross sales are less than 0,000, according to a release from the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.


Montana Department of Labor and Industry has announced that the state’s minimum wage will increase from .90 to .05 in accordance with the Montana Code Annotated 39-3-409. The consumer price index has been used as a reference to measure the increase in cost of living to calculate the hike in wages. “An estimated 12,850 Montana workers, or 2.9% of the workforce, received hourly wages less than .05 per hour in 2014,” according to a department news release.


The federally mandated minimum wage of .25 is not enough for the low-wage workers of Nebraska, says Jeremy Nordquist, a state senator from Omaha, Nebraska. To help them make ends meet, Nordquist started a campaign to raise the state’s minimum wage and on 4 November, Nebraska’s voters joined him in asking for a raise. As a result, the state’s minimum wage in 2015 will go up to . Then in 2016, it will go up to an hour.

New Jersey

New Jersey too will automatically raise its minimum wage this year. Article 1, Paragraph 23, of the New Jersey Constitution, and N.J.A.C. 12:56-3.1(b) raises the minimum wage from .25 to .38, according to a memo from New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

New York

New Yorkers, who were already being paid a minimum wage of an hour, will also see a bump in their paycheck. Their new rate? .75. The pay hike was effective 31 December. A law passed in 2013 by the state’s legislature guarantees that next New Year’s Eve they’ll get another raise, worth all of 25 cents.


In the new year, Ohio’s minimum wage will rise to .10 for non-tipped employees while those workers who receive at least a month in tips will need to be compensated at .05 per hour, plus tips. The Ohio Department of Commerce has issued this directive following a 2006 amendment to the constitution, which according to Policy Matters Ohio, will affect one in 20 workers in the state.


Effective 1 January, Oregon employers will pay 15 cents more in hourly wages as the state has raised the minimum wage to .25. As in several other states, this change too is aligned with changes in the consumer price index. The hike will impact about 145,000 workers in the state, or roughly 8% of its total workforce, according to the Oregon Department of Labor and Industries.

Rhode Island

Just like their counterparts in Massachusetts, Rhode Island residents’ minimum wage increased to an hour from an hour. This is the largest of three consecutive wage hikes approved by the state’s assembly. In 2013, Rhode Island’s minimum wage went up 35 cents and this year it went up 25 cents.

The only downside? If you are a full-time student younger than 19, you only have to be paid 90% of the state’s minimum wage: .10 an hour. Those 14 and 15 years old get even smaller wage – 75% of the state’s minimum wage. At .75, that’s 50 cents less than the federal minimum wage.

Obama pointing
Obama speaks about the economy after a roundtable discussion at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island. Photograph: Stephan Savoia/AP

South Dakota

Despite the business community’s opposition to the South Dakota’s minimum-wage ballot initiative, the state’s hourly minimum wage increases to .50. In the years after, the minimum wage will be adjusted if there is an increase in the cost of living. “In no case may the minimum wage be decreased,” insists the South Dakota Department of Labor.


At .73 an hour, Vermont, too, is among the ranks of states that already have a wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage. The gap between the two wages got even bigger Thursday as Vermont’s minimum wage went up to .15 an hour. Planning for the years to come, in June Governor Peter Shumlin signed a law that gradually increases the state’s minimum wage to .50 an hour by 2018. In the years after 2018, the state’s minimum wage will be adjusted based on the increases in the cost of living.


On 1 January, Washington’s minimum wage increased to .47 per hour. According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, workers who are 14 or 15 years old may be paid 85% of the adult minimum wage, or .05 per hour. The change matches a 1.59% increase in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers over the 12 months leading to 31 August. This change is estimated to impact 67,000 workers and totals to an approximate increase of 2 in wages over a year, per employee.

West Virginia

West Virginia’s minimum wage hike would have passed unanimously through both its state House and Senate had it not been for one State Senator – Republican senator Clark Barnes. Despite his nay vote, the state’s minimum wage went up New Year’s Day to an hour. In 2016, it will go up again to .75.

Washington DC

The District of Columbia’s minimum wage will rise to .50 on 1 July 2015. This is the second of three raises as part of the capital’s staggered increase from the 2013 minimum wage of .50. On 1 July 2016, the minimum wage will be raised further to .50 an hour. The three-step increase was initiated after mayor Vincent C Gray signed the Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013 into law on 15 January 2014. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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How hip-hop millionaires rise from the margins

As artists including Dr Dre and Jay Z build fortunes, the same entrepreneurial potential can be seen at street level

Hip hoppers rising to the top

Powered by article titled “How hip-hop millionaires rise from the margins” was written by Hugh Muir, for The Guardian on Sunday 21st December 2014 19.00 UTC

Why do some rap artists take so readily to the boardroom, asked an article last week about the rise of hip-hop millionaires? And there was certainly evidence of that transition. Dr Dre is the top-dog rap mogul with a fortune – estimated by Forbes – of 0m in 2014. Jay Z and P Diddy had m on this count, fortunes built on music and spin-off merchandising. You never know who the gods will smile upon. I have the first Dr Dre album I am aware of – with NWA – on vinyl in a box in the loft. It wasn’t that great.

What do we know of these street culture billionaires? Dre got his first leg up from Eric Wright, a drug dealer who bailed him out of jail with a proviso that he worked thereafter for his music label. Jay Z was a drug dealer in New York. P Diddy’s father was an associate of Frank Lucas, the heroin dealer immortalised in the Denzel Washington movie American Gangster. None rose through the old boys network.

Why do they take to the boardroom? Why not? For there’s entrepreneurial potential among many marginalised young people with no hope of going to business school.

I recall a summer’s afternoon in a project in Nottingham. A black teenager was messing around with a keyboard. Those in charge were keen to see him messing around with the keyboard, because on other days he was a gofer for a local drug baron. He was painfully diffident. Hated school. Especially maths. He definitely couldn’t do maths. But in fact, he could. Tell us how it works with the drugs, said the project worker by way of prompting. Well we buy this quantity, he said, suddenly animated. We divide it up and we sell for this amount, so there is a good profit. His were maths lessons conducted away from the classroom, away from the gaze of Her Majesty’s Customs; but very much in the sights of the police and other hustlers who kill and maim for trading advantage.

I left thinking that if many a hustler had access to official products in legitimate businesses with respectable connections – and without the street-level risks – they would quickly make their fortunes. The hip-hop millionaires bear that out. As for the drugs mathematician in Nottingham, I hope he had some luck and made the break. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Fans scramble for iPod Classic, the music player Apple killed off

Two months after model discontinued, fans pay up to four times more for last gadgets

Powered by article titled “Fans scramble for iPod Classic, the music player Apple killed off” was written by Paul Gallagher, for The Observer on Saturday 6th December 2014 16.49 UTC

One of this year’s hottest Christmas presents is no longer available in the shops. Two months after Apple announced the demise of its iPod Classic MP3 player, the model is selling secondhand for up to four times its original price as aficionados clamour to get their hands on one.

With a storage capacity double the size of any current iPods still being made, versions of the 160GB Classic – which can hold around 40,000 songs – are being sold as new via Amazon for up to £670. More than 3,000 of the models – the seventh, final version came out in 2010 – have been sold on eBay since the Classic was retired in October, most for between £350 and £500.Even refurbished older models now cost far more than the £229 for which the later generations retailed.

After Apple quietly pulled the Classic from its website, chief executive Tim Cook said the company no longer had access to the components and a redesign would have been too demanding.

As long ago as January 2013, Stuff magazine recommended buying an iPod Classic before it was too late, predicting it would double in price as soon it went into retirement. Editor Will Dunn lamented the product’s demise: “There’s still a huge affection for the iPod Classic and it’s not hard to see why – Spotify might offer 20 million songs, but 120GB of music is more than most people need, and your iTunes library doesn’t carry data charges or a subscription fee. Also, I think the Classic is a more distraction-free listening experience – I’m more likely to get through a full album on one.”

The iPod Touch has taken the Classic’s place as the Apple product with the biggest capacity, albeit only up to half of what used to be readily available. Dunn said he could not see the company making the Classic again, but another firm could step into the gap. “The iPod’s days have been numbered since the first iPhone, and the subscription model shows no signs of slowing down. Apple itself is transitioning into music subscriptions with iTunes Radio, and Google has just started trialling YouTube Music Key,” said Dunn.

“Another company could make something equally good – there are some nice premium players like Sony’s ZX1 and the Astell & Kern devices – but I don’t think I’d buy one. I have a smartphone that takes 128GB microSD cards; there are apps like doubleTwist that sync iTunes with Android and I have enough things in my pockets already.”

However, not everyone has been happy with their secondhand purchases. After buying one last week on Amazon and giving it a one-star review, Ian Murray said: “Rubbish company advertised as grade B – it was scratched, dented and screen had lines through it. It was only fit for the bin.”

The iPod Classic is not the first retro gadget to be surging in popularity again . Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue was spotted at the US Open tennis tournament this year clasping a flip phone of the type seldom seen since around a decade ago. Rihanna has also returned to using a pre-smartphone era handset, while Iggy Pop recently confessed he owned a clamshell phone.

Versions of the Nokia 8210, epitomising an era when consumers wanted the smallest phone possible, are also ballooning in price in the secondhand market. Similar-sized Ericsson and Motorola phones are on retro websites for hundreds of pounds.

Djassem Haddad, who started the site in 2009, said: “Some people don’t blink at the prices. The high prices are due to the difficulty in finding models which were limited editions in their time.” A Nokia 8800 Arte Gold was recently listed on his site for £810, while a Nokia 8800 could be bought for a more affordable £200.

Haddad had been hoping to explore what he believed to be a niche market, but since last year sales have taken off, partly due to older handsets being more secure – as they do not connect to a cloud network, they cannot be hacked into so easily. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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US jobs report beats forecasts as 321,000 positions added in November

Powered by article titled “US jobs report beats forecasts as 321,000 positions added in November” was written by Heidi Moore in New York, for The Guardian on Friday 5th December 2014 13.42 UTC

The US added 321,000 jobs in November, keeping the unemployment rate at 5.8% and 9 million Americans out of work.

The unemployment rate for white men rose to 5.4% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which measures employment in the US. The BLS added that the rates remained unchanged for other groups, including adult women at 5.3%, teenagers at 17.7%, blacks at 11.1% and Hispanics at 6.6%

The Economic Policy Institute said the jobs additions were “surprising and encouraging” but added: “it’s important to put these numbers in context. At this rate, we won’t return to pre-recession labor market health until October 2016—nearly nine years since the recession began.”

Economists had worried that November jobs numbers would disappoint after unpredictable storms swept the country Thanksgiving week.

“The November report today is a real wild card,” wrote Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics. “Seasonals, weather effects and a tendency to be under-reported initially all threaten the number.”

Job creation has been growing all year – but, much to the consternation of many economists, the jobs being created are heavily part-time and low-paid. These low-quality jobs and low pay ensure many Americans are not working.

In November, for instance, 73,000 of the newly created jobs were clustered in low-wage categories.

That has created a near-record low number of Americans participating in the workforce, at 62.8% – levels last seen during the 1970s. That number has not budged since April, showing a stubborn stagnation.

The highest rate of Americans participating in the labor force was in 2000, at the height of the tech boom, when 67.3% of Americans were working.

The rise of low-wage jobs has become a matter of activism. Minimum-wage protests have swept the nation, including rallies in 150 cities on Thursday against fast-food wages. The Economic Policy Institute also plans to highlight the problem of low pay by introducing a new wage-tracking tool based on the employment numbers, “to track the cumulative effect of the ongoing failure of wages to hit target levels, and how this relates to labor’s share of corporate income”.

One of the leading predictors of the employment report is jobless claims, a statistic which measures how many people apply for unemployment benefits.

This week, 297,000 people filed for jobless claims, down slightly from a relatively high 314,000 in the last week of November.

Over the past four weeks, more people have filed for jobless claims, adding up to an average of 299,000 over the past four weeks. That’s up from 294,000 on average over the previous four weeks. The jump was due to “harsher-than-usual weather,” according to Jim O’Sullivan, chief US economist at High-Frequency Economics.

Still, many economists see reasons for optimism.

Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at McGladrey, said the employment report was a “good strong number across the board. This is the point in the US economy where we’re going to generate escape velocity and generate wage gains over the next six months.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Stick to the script: 5 ways to create online business success.

Stick to the online business script

I have learned a lot of things from many different online marketing and MLM gurus over years. There are are several things that many experts refer to as being key to online business success. I guess you could call these practices standards for achieving online business success.

As we all know finding success in anything worthwhile requires a lot hard work and dedication. So why would running your own online business success be any different?

…I’ll spare you by not trying to go into all the intricate details of how to set up an online business or the monotonous step-by-step of how to make money online. But I would like to briefly share with you a condensed list of the key elements many believe to be the foundation of being a top online marketer.

5 ways to create online success

1. Be professional from the very start: Avoid taking shortcuts that could reflect negatively on you or your business. In other words always do your research.

2. Develop a platform: You will need a way to reach people and they will need a way to reach you when they need your help, advice, training etc. There are many platforms to chose from like blogging, youtube, podcasts, Facebook page etc. This will come down to your personal preference. When your just getting started with your online business it’s often recommended to pick one to get started and master it before adding another platform.

3. Cultivate your audience: Get to know who you are targeting, who needs your help or product. What are their interest and why should they turn to you for information.

4. Promote or sell products you use and truly believe in: This is important because the more you believe in your product the easier it will be for you to share your knowledge of the product or service. If people believe that you really like the product it will help you to build trust and develop a lasting business relationship.

5. Be consistent: This is one of the most important and challenging aspects of online success. Its important to be consistent in everything you do for your online business such as following up with customers and prospects, writing articles, creating pod cast etc. No matter what it is that you do for your business, doing it consistently will take you a long way.

Could working less really benefit workers and businesses?

A billionaire believes because more and more people are having to work into their 70’s now a days, four day work weeks could be a reasonable way for workers to enjoy a better quality of life and successfully increase productivity in the work place. Read more…


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