Minimum Wage Workers and the Threat of Increases

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A quick update study from the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity finds that legislative proposals at the state level to increase the minimum wage to $8.25 per hour would cost workers in the state 432 jobs, measured against last year’s $7.40 per hour rate.

Even worse would be the proposal suggested by U.S. Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline to increase the national minimum to $10.10.  That would cost 3,466 Rhode Islanders their jobs.

In a press conference this morning, replayed in large part by Dan Yorke on 630 WPRO, the Congressmen presented the image of struggling families working full time in minimum wage jobs just to subsist.  That is simply not the profile of this group of people.

The following chart applies to the Rhode Island proposal of $8.25 and shows households with at least one member currently earning that amount or less:

Living Situations of Rhode Island Households with a Member Earning $8.25 or Less per Hour

Even among households with at least one minimum-wage worker, only 14% are families living at these low pay rates; that’s about 0.75% of all workers.  Even moving the line up to $10.10, only approximately 17% of workers making that amount or less in Rhode Island are either single parents or spouses with households living on their income, or about 3.20% of all workers.