October 24, 2005
A Minimum Minimum
Just in case you were wondering: the federal minimum wage in the US--currently $5.15 per hour--is at its lowest level in 5 decades, adjusted for inflation:
The nominal US minimum wage has remained unchanged for the last 9 years; over that time, inflation has whittled away more than a fifth of the buying power of an hour of minimum-wage work.
The (relatively) good news for low-income workers is that, in the Northwest, these minimum wage standards only apply to Idaho and Montana; Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska have adopted a higher minimum wage. Washington's is currently $7.35 per hour, and is adjusted upward each year for inflation. In January it will rise to $7.63. (That's still lower than the inflation-adjusted federal minimum wage during most of the 1960's and 1970's, by the way.) Oregon's is currently $7.25 per hour, and is also indexed for inflation.
BC's minimum wage is Can$8.00. Adjusting for purchasing power of the Canadian and US dollars, that's about $6.67 in US dollars. And this isn't inflation-indexed -- meaning that inflation erodes its value every year. So, overall, minimum wage standards seem to be one area in which Washington and Oregon may be doing a better job than BC in protecting low-income workers.
Posted by ClarkWD | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Minimum Minimum:
You forgot Canadian health care, that puts BC far ahead.
Posted by: anonymous | Oct 24, 2005 8:50:03 PM
question for the economists: does a minimum wage that is indexed to inflation actually have an additional inflationary effect itself?
Posted by: colorless green ideas | Oct 28, 2005 12:31:06 PM