Minimum Wage

“We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living for those who devote their time and energy to industrial occupations. The monetary equivalent of a living wage varies according to local conditions, but must include enough to secure the elements of a normal standard of living–a standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the family during periods of sickness, and to permit of reasonable saving for old age.” Theodore Roosevelt, Confession of Faith, 8/6/1912

Basic Family Budget Calculator EPI  US Minimum Wage Compared to other OECD

Saving lives with the minimum wage, Salon, 8/16

Raise Wages, Kill Jobs? Seven Decades of Historical Data Find No Correlation Between Minimum Wage Increases and Employment Levels, Sonn & Lathrop, NELP 5/16

What’s the Right Minimum Wage? Our goal should be a living wage, not zero job loss. Howell, TAP, 4/16



Business for a Fair Minimum Wage

Low-wage Workers: Still Older, Smarter, and Underpaid CEPR, 5/15

Award-Winning Study: Minimum Wage–Solid Benefits, Small Costs CBPP 6/15

Minimum Wage in U.S. Cities Not Enough to Afford Rent, Report Says 5/15

Higher minimum wages are associated with greater financial well-being, Krassa & Radcliffe. LSE 11/14

$15 Is the New $10.10, USNWR, 6/14

“The minimum wage of the past was a stronger standard, providing significantly more buying power than it does today. After its creation in 1938, the value of the minimum wage rose relatively steadily until its value reached a high point in 1968 (when its nominal value was $1.60 an hour). Thereafter, it suffered dramatic erosion as Congress failed to adequately correct for inflation over time.” [for source, see graph below.]


2014 Job Creation Faster in States that Raised the Minimum Wage, CEPR 6/14

Low-wage Workers Are Older Than You Think, Cooper & Essrow, EPI 8/13



Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? Schmitt, CEPR 2/13

Minimum wage laws in the states DOL 1/13

Increase and Index the Minimum Wage, Hall, EPI 2/12

“The [Fair Labor Standards 1938] act–which also established time-and-a-half pay for overtime and restricted child labor–first set the minimum hourly wage at 25 cents. …. No one ever wants to make just the minimum, but the best time to have done so was 40 years ago. That’s when the minimum wage was the equivalent of $10.11 in 2008 dollars.” “Keeping an Eye on the Low Point of the Pay Scale,” NY Times, 8/31/08, Korkki

“An estimated 2.8 million employees will get a raise on Friday [7/24/09] as the federal minimum wage rises from $6.55 an hour to $7.25. Another 1.6 million whose hourly pay hovers around $7.25 are also expected to get a boost as employers adjust their pay scales to the new minimum. The raise is badly needed. It is also wholly inadequate.
With the latest increase, the minimum wage is still no higher now, after inflation, than it was in the early 1980s, and it is 17 percent lower than its peak in 1968. That means that no matter how hard they work, many low-wage workers keep falling behind. The latest increase will slow the decline in living standards, but it doesn’t reverse the overall downward pull.

Even that understates the broader dimensions of the problem.The minimum wage also sets a floor by which other wages are set. Keeping it low keeps wages lower than they would be otherwise, especially for jobs that are just above the minimum-wage level. That’s a big problem for American workers because low-wage fields are the ones that are adding the most jobs.

According to the Labor Department, 5 of the 10 occupations expected to add the most jobs through 2016 are ‘very low paying,’ — up to a maximum of about $22,000 a year. They include retail sales jobs and home health aides. Another 3 of the 10 are ‘low paying’, — from roughly $22,000 to $31,000, including customer-service representatives, general office clerks and nurses’ aides.” NY Times Editorial, July 24, 2009

Consider the Source: 100 Years of Broke- Record Opposition to the Minimum Wage NELP, 3/13

Strengthening the EITC and raising the minimum wage should go hand-in-hand, Cooper 1/13

Minimum Wage Indexing protects nearly a million low-wage workers this New Year Cooper 12/12

Time to Raise the Minimum Wage, EPI 7/12

Hardworking Americans should not be living in poverty, CNN 7/12

Economic research supports raising the minimum wage, Eisenbrey 7/12

Confronting Low Pay: Minimum Wage Policy and Employment in the U.S. and France, Howell, Azizoglu, & Okatenko, PERI 9/12

Minimum Wage and Productivity, Schmitt 3/12

Affording Health Care and Education on the Minimum Wage, Schmitt & Augier, 3/12

Raise the Minimum Wage NELP website

Most minimum wage workers are not teenagers, Cooper, EPI, 1/12

Minimum Wage: EPI Issue Guide, 7/09

Minimum wage stuck in the 1950s, Sklar, 7/09

Minimum wage workers: better educated, worse compensated, 7/09

Increases in minimum wage boost consumer spending, Filion, EPI, 5/09

Fact Sheet: Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007

First Federal Wage Hike in 10 Years, Brennen Ctr

Hundreds of Economists Say: Raise the Minimum Wage

“There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every [American] whether he [she] be a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid or day laborer.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967 quoted by Sklar and Sherry, A Just Minimum Wage: Good For Workers, Business and Our Future

Job Slayers or Fact Slayers? The Wall Street Journal’s flawed argument against raising the minimum wage

Labor/Working Families — Civil Rights Coalition

Labor Markets, Wages and Poverty — Political Economy Research Institute UMASS

See also Resources: Living and minimum wage sites