Minimum Wage Raise

January 26, 1954

Report Outline
Outlook for Revision of Fair Labor Standards Act
Wage Protection Under Federal and State Laws
Factors in Fixing Statutory Wage Floors
Economic Effects of a Minimum Wage Raise

Outlook for Revision of Fair Labor Standards Act

Congress expects shortly to receive an administration request that the minimum wage rate of the Fair Labor Standards Act be raised at the 1954 session and that coverage of the act be extended to large numbers of workers now outside its protection. The legal minimum wage was last raised in 1949 to the present rate of 75¢ an hour. Action of Congress on the administration request will depend in part on the degree of liberalization recommended and in part on the trend of business activity during the next few months.

Most members of Congress from industrial states want to “do something for Labor” before the November elections and a boost in the minimum wage rate might be an acceptable substitute for revision of the Taft-Hartley Act. Employers in industries which have already suffered some slackening of activity will argue that they are in no position to assume additional labor costs. Trade union representatives will argue that in a period of business recession working men and women need the protection against wage cuts that would be afforded by an increase in the minimum wage.

Call for Higher Wage Floor and Broader Coverage

Secretary of Labor Mitchell declared himself strongly in favor of a higher wage floor and more comprehensive coverage of the nation's labor force shortly after his appointment last October. Addressing the C.I.O. convention at Cleveland, Nov. 18, 1953, he said:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cost of Living and Wages
Apr. 17, 2020  Inequality in America
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