There is a frequent caller to the radio station, and in anticipation of his call tomorrow I thought I would put up a chart of the minimum wage. This caller focuses on various aspects of the minimum wage, but a key feature is the declining value of the minimum wage. I provide both the real and nominal minimum wages in the following graph.
So even with the increases in the minimum wage over time, inflation eroded the value of the minus wage as you would expect. The value of the minimum wage has been on a long decline since the 1970s and 1980s which is the caller’s significant point. In terms of a nearby value there is a steady decline since 2010.
Now on the radio we have a broader discussion about what the minimum wage really represents and that is a fine discussion to have and is important. According to BLS in 2018 there were about 1.7 million workers at or below the federal minimum wage which is just over 2% of hourly paid workers.
I am not sure if people would think that a great deal or a trivial amount, but giving a picture of the radio discussion should help advance the topic a bit tomorrow. Or that is the hope at least.