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In 2015, the federal minimum wage was $7.25 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report that, of the 78.2 million workers aged 16 and older in the U.S. that were paid hourly rates, 870,000 were paid a wage of exactly $7.25 per hour. Another 1.7 million hourly workers were paid wages below the federal minimum. In total, these 2.6 million workers made up 3.3 percent of all hourly workers in the U.S.

This chapter considers the history of the number of workers paid the minimum wage and projects how the landscape would change if the minimum wage were increased to $15 in 2020. In particular, this chapter provides a description of the type and share of workers that were paid at or below the minimum wage over the past 20 years.


Liam Sigaud & Michael Saltsman


Employment Policies Institute

Publication Information

Fighting $15? An Evaluation of the Evidence and a Case for Caution

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Economics Commons