Stats on minimum wage workers

With proposals to increase the minimum wage in the state, there’s a lot of discussion about who the minimum wage workers are. For example, see this Everett Herald op-ed by Reps. Luis Moscoso and Mike Sells. We’ve written on it as well; see here and here.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of workers earning at or below the minimum wage nationally, 23.4 percent are over 40. (50.6 percent are between 16 and 24.)

In a December report, the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute looked at who would be affected nationally by an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10. They estimated that 34.5 percent of those affected are over 40. And that number includes those both directly and indirectly affected — meaning that the percentage includes many earning above the current minimum and even above $10.10 (who could see an increase due to a ripple effect, “as employers adjust their overall pay ladders”).

The same EPI report includes estimates for Washington. According to them, of those directly affected by an increase in the federal minimum to $10.10, 23.4 percent are over 40. Of those directly and indirectly affected, 27.8 percent are over 40, they estimate. Both those numbers are overstatements of those currently earning the minimum wage.