About 2.4 million low-paid workers in the United States are getting a pay raise on New Year's Day as new minimum wage laws take effect.
In the United States, the minimum pay is $7.25 an hour, which translates to a yearly salary of $15,080.
But 20 of the country's 50 states and the national capital of Washington passed new laws in recent months or had already imposed requirements that now will boost wages above the national level, to an average of $8 an hour, or $16,640 annually.
The wage increases are expected to pump about $1.5 billion annually into the accelerating U.S. economy, the world's largest, because low-wage workers tend to spend most of their paychecks.
President Barack Obama last year called for a federal minimum wage of $10.10 an hour, but encountered stiff opposition from Republican opponents in Congress and the proposal failed.
Numerous new state laws also took effect Thursday in the United States, including one in California that requires college students to give affirmative consent to their partners before engaging in sex. In Michigan, the sale of cough and cold medicines for the purpose of making the drug methamphetamine is now banned, while New York is requiring its residents to recycle old computers and televisions rather than throwing them in the trash.
Some information for this report came from AP.