Capitol Comments

In May 2016, most states – 44 – saw nonfarm payroll employment grow over the previous year. Employment in five states (Florida, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington) grew by more than 3 percent. In six states (Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming) year-over-year employment declined. Employment declined the most in North Dakota and Wyoming, each falling by more than 3 percent. Across all states and the District of Columbia, employment grew by 2.4 million (1.7 percent) from May 2015 to May 2016.

Researchers and politicians often say that small businesses are the economic engine of the U.S. economy – that these businesses are the job creators. While small businesses (generally defined as companies with fewer than 500 employees) are certainly integral to economic prosperity – they make up about half of all private sector employment – it is the age of the business, not the size, which often drives job creation.

Governors’ salaries in 2016 range from a low of $70,000 to a high of $190,823 with an average salary of $137,415. Maine Gov. Paul LePage earns the lowest gubernatorial salary at an annual rate of $70,000, followed by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who earns $90,000 per year. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has the highest gubernatorial salary at $190,823, followed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s salary of $187,500 per year, although Haslam returns his salary to the state. Governors in four states—Alabama, Florida, Illinois and Tennessee—do not accept a paycheck or return all or nearly all of their salaries to the state. 

On July 1, 2016 the minimum wage increased in Oregon, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The total number of states with a minimum wage higher than the federal rate of $7.25/hour is 29, ranging from $7.50 in New Mexico and Maine to a high of $10.00 in Massachusetts and California and $11.50 in the District of Columbia. 

On July 1, 2016 the minimum wage will increase in Oregon, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The minimum wage is scheduled to increase in Minnesota on August 1, 2016.

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