U.S. President Obama pauses during year-end news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Wednesday to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour starting next year and encouraged employers nationwide to increase wages for their workers.
Obama announced during his State of the Union address last month that he intended to take executive action to raise wages for federal contract workers.
The order will affect workers starting on January 1, 2015, and applies to new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts.
Obama, who has also pressed Congress to enact legislation to raise the minimum wage for all workers nationwide, urged business leaders and government officials to do more to increase workers' incomes.
"I would ask any business leader out there, any governor, any mayor, any local leader listening: do what you can to raise your employees' wages," he said, rejecting arguments that doing so would hamper the economy.
"It's not going to depress the economy, it'll boost the economy," he said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Jim Loney)