University of Maine Bureau of Labor Education
Although a three-step raise in the Federal minimum wage that ended in July, 2009 is projected to generate a total of $10.4 billion in increased consumer spending,2 a survey of the wage situation in the U.S. today suggests that recent raises to the minimum wage are inadequate. Both Maine and the nation have been plagued by serious wage stagnation for many years. The overextended credit that helped fuel the recent economic crisis was exacerbated by what has been called a “collapse of hourly wage growth” by the Economic Policy Institute. In the longer term, the inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage has dropped by 17 percent from 1968 to 2009. This has contributed to a very weak economy, dragged down by depressed wages that will make recovery more difficult. This paper discusses problems caused by stalled wages, and highlights some emerging trends regarding the minimum wage.
Bureau of Labor Education. University of Maine, "The Minimum Wage: Two Generations of Neglect Add Up" (2010). Bureau of Labor Education. 32.
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