By James Brooks
Alaska Beacon 

Alaska's minimum wage will go up to $10.85 an hour in 2023


November 2, 2022

Alaska’s minimum wage will rise 51 cents, to $10.85 per hour, starting next year.

The adjustment, announced last month by the Alaska Department of Labor, is intended to compensate for a 5% rise in the cost of living in Anchorage. Alaska law requires the minimum wage to be adjusted each year for inflation.

Despite the increase, the minimum wage remains well below a widely used measure of a living wage in Alaska.

In Anchorage, the median apartment rental cost is $1,339 per month, according to a survey conducted this year by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. and the Department of Labor. That figure includes rent and utilities and rose 14% from last year.

Taking into account tax withholding, someone earning minimum wage would have to work 35 hours per week in a four-week month to cover the cost of housing.

Altogether, estimates indicate someone earning minimum wage would have to work 71 hours per week to meet their basic needs of housing, food, transportation and other necessities in Anchorage.

A living wage is defined as the minimum amount needed to pay for basic needs while working a standard 40-hour workweek. In all of Alaska’s cities and boroughs, the minimum wage is significantly below the living wage amount.

In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, someone would have to work 69 hours per week at minimum wage to meet basic needs. In Fairbanks, it’s 75 hours. In Juneau, it’s 74 hours.

Based on current estimated costs, the minimum wage would need to be above $18.08 per hour in order to be a living wage in Anchorage. Amid tight labor market conditions, many employers are advertising starting wages of $15 an hour, or even more, though some are still around $12 an hour.

The Alaska Beacon is an independent, donor-funded news organization.


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