Minimum Wage, Inflation

Keeping Up With Inflation: The Minimum Wage Would Be Close To $13 If It Moved With Inflation 

What a wonderful world that would be....

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed what the minimum wage would be like if it were to keep up with rising inflation. 

If the minimum wage is adjusted to inflation in 2024, the amount would be close to $13 — $12.85, to be exact. The federal minimum wage hasn’t moved in 15 years, with the most recent adjustment happening in 2009 – going from $6.55 to $7.25. Regardless of the U.S. sustaining economic growth and decline and a global pandemic, somehow, the federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25. 

According to the Bureau, $7.25 in July 2009 is equivalent to $10.50 in March 2024. Full-time employees making that amount earn close to $15,080 a year, just $20 above the poverty level. If it were still 2009, the annual salary would need to increase to $21,870 today just to keep up with the rising cost of goods and services.

A minimum pay per hour rate still stands in 20 states, but in the other 30 states and territories, minimum wage is higher than $7.25. Employees can find the highest minimum wage in the country in Tukwila, Washington. For large employers with more than 500 workers, workers must be paid a minimum of $20.29. For states and territories like Washington, D.C., the best rate is $17 an hour.

There have been discussions on raising the federal minimum wage, but Congress has stalled on those efforts. In 2021, Democrats proposed increasing the base wage to $15 base wage in 2021, but it was rejected in the Senate. However, there is a push in local municipalities to raise wages in specific spaces. 

According to KING 5, King County Council is considering a proposal to set a minimum wage of $20.29 an hour in Seattle. If legislation is passed, county employees, employees of businesses in unincorporated King County, and the employees of contracting companies with the county would see a wage increase. For small- and medium-sized businesses, there would be more allotted time to have their wages increased to the county’s standard. 

Also, the county’s minimum wage would rise every year, starting on Jan. 1, 2025, based on the rate of inflation. 

In San Diego, labor unions are putting pressure on city council members to mandate a $25 hourly minimum wage for service workers. Representing employees of thousands of hotel, janitorial, and convention centers, unions are arguing that low-paid service employees often have to choose between paying rent or eating in the city. 

They are pushing for a 50% increase from the current wage of $16.85 an hour.