Minimum Wage

January 24, 2014 • Volume 24, Issue 4
Would raising the rate be good for the economy?
By Barbara Mantel

Introduction

The Grinch looks on as Chicago fast-food and retail workers demand an increase in their minimum wage (Getty Images/Scott Olson)
The Grinch looks on as Chicago fast-food and retail workers demand an increase in their minimum wage on Dec. 5, 2013. The protest at a Chicago Sears store was part of a one-day labor walkout in 100 cities. (Getty Images/Scott Olson)

Political pressure is building on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009. Polls show a majority of Americans support the idea; low-wage workers have staged protests demanding higher pay; and 21 states have set their own hourly minimums at more than $7.25. Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation to raise the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour, to be phased in over a little more than two years, and President Obama has expressed support for the measure. But business groups, including the National Restaurant Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, strongly oppose an increase, saying it would force fast-food outlets, retailers and other employers to eliminate jobs for the poorest, lowest-skilled workers. Supporters of an increase say raising the minimum would cause minimal job loss while putting money into the hands of low-wage workers who would spend it, boosting the economy. The debate over the federal minimum wage is likely to run through this year's mid-term elections as Democrats have promised to try to make raising the minimum a wedge issue.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cost of Living and Wages
Sep. 08, 2017  Universal Basic Income
Apr. 08, 2016  Future of the Middle Class
Apr. 18, 2014  Wealth and Inequality
Jan. 24, 2014  Minimum Wage
Jun. 19, 2009  Rethinking Retirement
Mar. 06, 2009  Middle-Class Squeeze
Mar. 14, 2008  Gender Pay Gap
Dec. 16, 2005  Minimum Wage
Sep. 27, 2002  Living-Wage Movement
Apr. 17, 1998  Income Inequality
Oct. 27, 1978  Wage-Price Controls
Jun. 16, 1978  Military Pay and Benefits
Mar. 23, 1966  Rising Cost of Living
Oct. 25, 1961  Price-Wage Restraints in National Emergencies
Jun. 21, 1961  Wage Policy in Recovery
Jun. 11, 1958  Prices and Wages in the Recession
Sep. 18, 1957  Control of Living Costs
Nov. 02, 1955  Wages, Prices, Profits
Jan. 26, 1954  Minimum Wage Raise
Jan. 02, 1954  Cost of Living
Jan. 21, 1953  Guaranteed Annual Wage
Dec. 17, 1952  Future of Price and Wage Controls
Nov. 19, 1951  Fringe Benefits and Wage Stabilization
Dec. 06, 1950  Wage Control
Jun. 13, 1949  Wages in Deflation
Jun. 04, 1947  Guarantees of Wages and Employment
Oct. 29, 1946  Decontrol of Wages
Dec. 01, 1945  Minimum Wages
Sep. 29, 1945  Wage Policy
Oct. 27, 1944  Wage Security
May 17, 1943  Incentive Wage Payments
Aug. 25, 1941  Prices, Profits, and Wage Control
Apr. 28, 1941  Wartime Changes in the Cost of Living
Sep. 21, 1940  Two Years of the Wage-Hour Law
Nov. 01, 1938  Industry and Labor Under the Wage-Hour Act
Jan. 20, 1938  Wage Rates and Workers' Incomes
Apr. 11, 1935  The Cost of Living in the United States
Sep. 01, 1930  Wages and the Cost of Living
May 24, 1930  The Anthracite Wage Agreement
Feb. 20, 1925  Measure of Recovery in Profits and Wages Since 1920–21 Depression
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Consumer Behavior
Domestic Issues
Employee Benefits
Wages
Work and the Family