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Center for Economic and Policy Research

JUNE 19, 2006
2:16 PM

CONTACT: Center for Economic and Policy Research
Lynn Erskine, 202-293-5380 x115

Federal Minimum Wage at Lowest Point in 50 Years
Raising minimum wage would provide workers with $1,520 more annually

WASHINGTON - June 19 - Raising the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over the next 26 months would increase the annual earnings of the average full-time, full-year, minimum-wage worker by $1,520, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

This week Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) will offer an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill that would increase the minimum wage from the current $5.15 per hour to $7.25.

The federal minimum wage is at its lowest point in 50 years (see graph below). Congress has not raised the minimum wage in a decade. As of December 2006, this will be the longest time Congress has ever gone without raising the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage is only the first step in helping families to make ends meet. The substantial share of minimum wage workers are adults making significant contributions to the total family income. In the early 2000s, fewer than one-in-five minimum wage workers was under the age of 20 and half were between ages 25 and 54.

See minimum wage graph in HTML at:


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