With the federal wage remaining unchanged at $7.25/hr for a decade. Nearly two dozen U.S. states took matters into their own hands this year. In 2019, 21 states increased pay rates despite critics saying it would hurt small businesses. Even with the warnings, hiring this year remained strong amidst the pay hikes. Last month, it was reported that the U.S. unemployment rate is only at 3.5 percent. Those who saw increased pay in 2019 include baristas and waiters. In seven states, wages will eventually grow to $15 an hour thanks to passed legislation. Even more hikes will go into effect on the first day of 2020. Pay rates are expected to go up for almost seven million workers starting on January 1.