Minimum-wage workers make 21% less than their counterparts 12 years ago, according to a report.
Workers on the minimum wage currently make 21% less than their counterparts did 12 years ago, when the federal government last raised the rate.
The $7.25 minimum wage has lost about one-fifth of its value since July 2009, according to a new analysis released Thursday by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
Minimum wage in 2009 was $9.17 per hour, which is similar to $9.17 per hour today. According to EPI, the minimum wage peaked in 1986, when it was worth $11.12 in today’s money.
“That is a quite astonishing finding,” Ben Zipperer, an economist at EPI, told This website. “We paid the lowest wage employees in this economy much more than what we pay them today more than 50 years ago.”
“While the minimum wage hasn’t changed in that time, the cost of living has risen,” Zipperer noted. “Rent is more expensive, food is more expensive, and healthcare is more expensive.”
Today, no state, county, or city in the United States can afford a two-bedroom apartment for a minimum-wage worker working 40 hours per week. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, only 7% of all counties across the country can afford a one-bedroom rental apartment for a full-time worker.
Earlier this year, President Joe Biden proposed to increase the minimum wage by including it in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The Senate Parliamentarian, however, rejected the proposal, ruling that it could not be included in the reconciliation bill.
This year, Democrats revived the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The bill has 199 House co-sponsors and 37 Senate co-sponsors, but it has yet to be taken up for a vote.
While Congress remains deadlocked on the subject, states have taken steps to raise the minimum wage on their own.
Legislation has been enacted in ten states and the District of Columbia to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Delaware became the latest state to do so on Monday, when Gov. John Carney signed the bill.
At a press conference, the governor added, “What we’re doing is very, really vital.” This is a condensed version of the information.