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The US minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009. What that means for the economy

today 11/11/2023
A majority of workers earning minimum wage are employed in restaurants, bars, and other food service establishments. Many businesses in the industry have had to increase employee pay higher than the state or federal minimum wage due to a competitive labor market. The number of workers earning the federal minimum wage has been decreasing, and there is widespread agreement that it is not in line with current economic conditions. Despite efforts to raise the federal minimum wage, such attempts have been unsuccessful, possibly due to political polarization. While some states have taken steps to increase the minimum wage, many still require employers to pay $7.25 an hour. The federal minimum wage has remained unchanged since 2009, and adjusting for inflation, workers in the past were paid more compared to today. Raising the minimum wage to $17 or $15 an hour would benefit millions of workers who are currently paid less than those amounts. However, there are concerns about the potential impact on job loss and the need for a minimum wage increase to keep up with the rising cost of living. Many unionized workers have gone on strike to demand higher pay, and some large employers have already raised their minimum wages to $15 or higher. Despite the federal minimum wage being below the desired level, many businesses in the food service industry have increased their wages to attract and retain employees. The economic impact of a federal minimum wage increase is debated, with opponents suggesting it could lead to job losses, while newer research suggests it may have the opposite effect.
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