On January 1st, Montana's minimum wage will increase 15 cents to $7.80 an hour, benefiting 22,000 low-wage workers in the state.

Montana's minimum wage increase means an extra $310 per year in wages for the average directly affected worker. According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, the increased consumer spending generated by the minimum wage hike will boost GDP by $3.9 million.

Montana is joined by 9 states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) that will also raise state minimum wage rates on New Year's Day, boosting wages for nearly one million workers nationwide. Montana's wage increase is the result of a state-wide ballot proposal approved by 73 percent of voters in 2006 that provides for annual rate adjustments that keep pace with the rising cost of living.