Minimum wage rates may climb this year

At least 17 states recently raised the minimum wage or are considering doing so in 2012, the most in at least six years.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney broke with GOP conservatives this week, renewing his call for automatic federal minimum wage increases to keep up with inflation.

President Obama has backed raising the U.S. basic wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $9.50 and indexing future automatic increases to inflation. Many economists cite a growing divide between rich and poor.

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