Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Brief History of the Minimum Wage

The best time to have been on the minimum wage was the mid-'60s, when the minimum wage had the greatest buying power - $10.11 in 2008 inflation adjusted dollars. Since the mid-60s, the inflation adjusted value of the minimum wage has been dropping steadily, with an uptick in 2008 from its adjusted increase to $6.55. Another increase to $7.25 is scheduled for 2009, but that still keeps its buying power far below historical amounts.

Minimum Wage

1938 $0.25
2008 $6.55
2009 $7.25
Highest value of the minimum wage in 2008 inflation adjusted dollars was in 1968 $10.11
Number of US workers paid hourly 75.9 million
Percentage of workforce paid hourly 58.50%
Percent making minimum wage 2.30%
Number of workers making minimum wage 1,748,000

Minimum Wage Adjusted for Inflation 1938 - 2008

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