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11 Must-Know Facts About The Minimum Wage

Photo: Derek Gee/The Buffalo News/AP

Photo: Derek Gee/The Buffalo News/AP

Most likely you know some things about the minimum wage, however I would like to take three minutes to give you some quick facts about the minimum wage that you may not know.   I will assume that you already know that the current federal minimum wage is $7.25.  Right now there are multiple campaigns pushing for a higher minimum wage, they range from $9.00-$15.00.  The most powerful campaign is Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep George Miller’s (D-California) proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over two years, and then tie it to inflation so it will continue to rise as the cost of living rises.

  1. There are over 3.5 million workers who earn at or below the minimum wage. 1.55 Million earn exactly minimum wage and 1.98 million earn below minimum wage.
  2. Over 75% of all minimum wage workers are over the age of 20 years old! This is completely contrary to the myth that all minimum wage workers are teenagers. Additionally over 49% of all minimum wage workers are over the age of 25.  (Source BLS) Of all minimum wage workers 64% are women.
  3. Idaho has the highest percentage (7.7%) of hourly workers at or below the minimum wage. Idaho edged out Texas (7.5%), Oklahoma (7.2%) and Louisiana (7.1%) for this illustrious title. (Source BLS)
  4. 20.6% of all minimum wage workers are married. The majority (18.3%) of the married minimum wage workers are over the age of 25. (Source BLS) Additionally 27.9% of those effected by raising the minimum wage to $10.10 are parents raise at least one child. (Economic Policy Institute)
  5. A full time minimum wage workers making $7.25 an hour or $15,080 per year. The federal poverty level for a single parent with one child is $15,825. This means that a single parent does not even meet the federal poverty level if they work 40 hours a week in a minimum wage job. (Economic Policy Institute)
  6. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would effect an estimated 30 million of the 70 million hourly workers. Almost 40% of all hourly workers would get a raise if we lift the minimum wage. (Economic Policy Institute)
  7. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would create an estimated 140,000 net new jobs and add $32 billion dollars to the United States GDP. (Economic Policy Institute)
  8. If the minimum wage had been tied to inflation in 1963, it would be almost double the current federal minimum wage. In 1963 the minimum wage was $1.15 per hour, adjusted for inflation that would be $13.00 per hour.
  9. If the minimum wage had kept up with the increase in worker productivity it would exceed $20 per hour. “Since 1968, however, productivity growth has far outpaced the minimum wage. If the minimum wage had continued to move with average productivity after 1968, it would have reached $21.72 per hour in 2012”.  (Center for Economic and Policy Research)
  10.  The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour and has not been raised sine 1991. The Harkin/Miller proposal would raise tipped wages by $0.85 cents every year until it reaches 70% of the federal minimum wage.  (Economic Policy Institute)
  11. Increasing the minimum wage does not lead to job losses. This is best explained by a quote from famed economist Paul Krugman: “Now, you might argue that even if the current minimum wage seems low, raising it would cost jobs. But there’s evidence on that question — lots and lots of evidence, because the minimum wage is one of the most studied issues in all of economics. U.S. experience, it turns out, offers many ‘natural experiments’ here, in which one state raises its minimum wage while others do not. And while there are dissenters, as there always are, the great preponderance of the evidence from these natural experiments points to little if any negative effect of minimum wage increases on employment.” Paul Krugman on Feb 2013 (NYTimes)




About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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One Response to 11 Must-Know Facts About The Minimum Wage

  1. Pingback: Raise The Minimum Wage – ’11 Must-Know Facts About The Minimum Wage’ | The Last Of The Millenniums

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