Unexpectedly Intriguing!
March 9, 2011

In 2006, the last full year in which the U.S. federal minimum wage was a constant value throughout the whole year, at least before 2010, approximately 6,595,383 individuals in the United States earned $7.25 per hour1 or less.

For 2010, the first full year in which the U.S. federal minimum wage was a constant value through the year since 2006, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that an average of just 4,361,000 individuals in the United States earned the same equivalent of the current prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 or less throughout the year.

Number of Individuals Earning the Current Level of the U.S. Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 or Less in 2006 and 2010

In terms of jobs lost, that means that 2,234,383 of the jobs lost in the U.S. economy since 2006 have been jobs that were directly impacted by the series of minimum wage increases that were mandated by the federal government in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Interestingly, the average number of employed members of the civilian labor force in 2006 was 144,427,000. In 2010, the average number of employed members of the civilian labor force in the U.S. was 5,363,000 less, standing at 139,064,000.

So, in percentage terms of the change in total employment level from 2006 to 2010, jobs affected by the federal minimum wage hikes of 2007, 2008 and 2009 account for 41.8% of the total reduction in jobs seen since 2006.


1 We had originally identified the minimum wage as $7.85, which we've corrected on the chart (the original is here.) We've also made a number of clarifications and other minor numerical corrections, which we've identified in boldface type - our apologies for the errors in the original post!

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