Source: United States Department of Labor

The federal minimum wage in United States is $7.25/h

As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour. The July 24, 2009 increase was the last of three steps of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The wage increase was signed into law on May 25, 2007 as a rider to the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007. The bill also contains almost $5 billion in tax cuts for small businesses.

Among those paid by the hour in 2009, 980,000 were reported as earning exactly the prevailing Federal minimum wage. Nearly 2.6 million were reported as earning wages below the minimum. Together, these 3.6 million workers with wages at or below the minimum made up 4.9 percent of all hourly-paid workers.

Washington has the highest minimum wage, Georgia the lowest

The State of Washington has the highest minimum wage at $8.67/hour. The states of Georgia and Wyoming have the lowest minimum wage ($5.15) of the 45 states that have a minimum wage requirement.

There are 4 states than have a minimum wage set lower than the federal minimum wage. There are 18 states (plus DC) with minimum wage rates set higher than the federal minimum wage. There are 23 of the states that have a minimum wage requirement that is the same as the federal minimum wage requirement. The remaining 5 states do not have an established minimum wage requirement.

Higher wages, and less disparate, than in the EU

Whereas the minimum wage in the US is $7.25/h in Europe the average minimum wage is $5.91/h (just taking into account only those EU countries which set minimum wages laws -Germany, Itally, Sweden and Finland are not included). Whereas in the US the ratio between the highest minimum wage (Washington State) and the lowest (Georgia and Wyoming) is ‘only’ 1.68 times, in the EU this value is 14.3 times (the ratio between the minimum wage in Louxemburg and Bulgaria’s).

What is the minimum wage?

The federal minimum wage provisions for covered, nonexempt employees are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 included phased increases to the federal minimum wage.

  • For work performed prior to July 24, 2007, the federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour.
  • For work performed from July 24, 2007 to July 23, 2008, the federal minimum wage is $5.85 per hour.
  • For work performed from July 24, 2008 to July 23, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour.
  • For work performed on or after July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

The jobs that are most likely to be directly affected by the Minimum Wage are the ones that pay a wage close to the minimum.

The lowest minimum wage in America, the US, and the Wikileaks cables

According to Green Left, the United States embassy in Haiti worked closely with factory owners contracted by Levi’s, Hanes, and Fruit of the Loom to aggressively block a paltry minimum wage rise for Haitian assembly zone workers. The moves to block a wage rise for the lowest paid in the western hemisphere were revealed by secret US State Department cables obtained by Haiti Liberte andThe Nation magazine.

The factory owners refused to pay $0.62 an hour, or $5 per eight-hour day, as mandated by a measure unanimously passed by Haiti’s parliament in June 2009. The cables, provided by WikiLeaks, show that behind the scenes, factory owners were vigorously backed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US embassy. Before the rise, the minimum daily wage was $1.75 a day.

This is a nonprofit explanation

Graph notes:

*$7.25for those employers grossing $271,000 or less)

**$4.00 Businesses with gross annual sales of $110,000 or less

***Applicable in: Delaware, Guam, Hawai, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, UTA, Virginia, Virgin Islands, West Virginia,

****Large employer; 5.25 Small employer (enterprise with annual receipts of less than $625,000)

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