Career and Job-Hunting Blog
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|Career and Job-Hunting Blog Index|
|July 25, 2009|
The U.S. federal minimum wage got another boost, meaning millions of Americans received a pay raise.
Effective, July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage increased from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour.
While the boost is an improvement, for a full-time worker making minimum wage, the increase only represents about a $26 weekly increases and a just under $1,400 increase in annual pay.
A little more than half of all states do not currently have a minimum wage — and employers in those states must follow federal guidelines. For workers in the 21 states that do have a minimum wage, they must be paid the higher of the hourly wages. For example, workers in Washington state must get paid the state minimum wage, which is $8.55 an hour — the highest in the country.
While some complain that raising the minimum wage hurts businesses (who must pay more in wages) and consumers (who often get passed the cost increase in higher prices), the reality is that businesses are faced with increased operating costs regularly — and the most successful ones find ways to reduce costs or increase efficiencies without passing along the cost to consumers — or worse, cutting back the hours of its workers.
Even with this latest increase in the minimum wage, the annual gross pay for a full-time worker is just above $15,000; the take-home pay much less.
The livable wage rate for a single person is at least double the minimum wage — and for a single parent with children, even higher.
People can move beyond minimum wage jobs — with proper education, training, and support. Read more in our article, Surviving and Moving Beyond Low-Wage Jobs: Solutions for an Invisible Workforce in America.
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