Just A Reminder, The Federal Minimum Wage Peaked In 1968

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For the states that have not enacted higher minimum wage laws, near-minimum-wage workers would also benefit from a hike.

The 'Fight for $15' movement began in 2012 with fast food workers marching to demand a living minimum wage in New York. Six years later, the federal minimum wage is still stuck at $7.25 per hour, and just over half of Americans are on board with the idea of raising it to $15.

According to the Pew Research Center, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968, when adjusted for inflation, at $8.68 in 2016 dollars.

Since it was last raised in 2009, to the current $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum has lost about 9.6% of its purchasing power to inflation. Back in 2015, The Economist estimated that, given how rich the U.S. is and the pattern among other advanced economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, “one would expect America … to pay a minimum wage around $12 an hour.”

Though minimum wage jobs are often thought of or billed as jobs for teenagers, workers aged 16-24 make up less than half of minimum wage employees - just 45 percent.

An additional 23.3% are ages 25 to 34, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; both shares have stayed more or less constant over the past decade. That 2.6 million represents less than 2% of all wage and salary workers.

For the states that have not enacted higher minimum wage laws, near-minimum-wage workers would also benefit from a hike in the federal minimum.

About 20.6 million people (or 30% of all hourly, non-self-employed workers 18 and older) are “near-minimum-wage” workers.

[Near-minimum-wage workers are] those who make more than the minimum wage in their state but less than $10.10 an hour, and therefore also would benefit if the federal minimum is raised to that amount.

The near-minimum-wage workers are young (just under half are 30 or younger), mostly white (76%), and more likely to be female (54%) than male (46%). A majority (56%) have no more than a high-school education.

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