The efforts of some members of Congress to get a $15 minimum wage into the new stimulus package have failed. The argument that the threshold is important is it would lift millions of Americans out of poverty. The current minimum wage mandate by the federal government is $7.25, although it is much higher in a number of states.
The arguments against the plan often focus on its cost to small businesses and those that operate on slim margins. Participants on this side of the debate claim that a higher minimum wage would cause layoffs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports that a $15 figure could cause 1.4 million layoffs between now and 2025.
The number of people affected by a $15 increase in the minimum wage varies from state to state. This is particularly true when it comes to percentages of workers in each state.
The Economic Policy Institute’s “Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would lift the pay of 32 million workers” research paper analyzed pay by state, unemployment rate, job type and effect on poverty levels. The foundation of the research was based on the “Raise the Wage Act of 2021,” which had five increases in the minimum wage between now and 2025 when it would reach the $15 threshold.
According to the report: “A level of $15 in 2025 would finally raise the living standards of the lowest-wage workers above levels those workers experienced 50 years ago.”
To get numbers by state, the EPI started with a national workforce figure of 151.7 million people in the United States. Of these, 22.1 million would be affected by an increase in the minimum wage to $15, a figure that equates to 21.2%.
Among the states, the one where the change would make the most difference is Mississippi. There, the percentage of the workforce affected would be 30.6%. 24/7 Wall St.’s own analysis of America’s richest and poorest states put Mississippi at the bottom.
This is the impact of increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2025:
|State||Workforce (Thousands)||Directly Affected|
|District of Columbia||373||0.90%|