WISCREPORT.COM - Increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 will benefit thousands of low-wage working adults in Wisconsin. Data analyzed by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy and Economic Policy Institute show that some 255,000 workers in Wisconsin –10 percent of the workforce – stand to gain from an increase in the state’s minimum from its current level of $6.50 to $7.25 per hour.
Of the quarter of a million workers who gain, 75,000 would directly benefit, as their wages are now below $7.25 an hour. Another 180,000 workers with wages just above the minimum would gain indirectly from a positive ripple effect.
The data shows an interesting profile of the 255,000 workers who gain:
-Affected workers would enjoy a 4 percent raise, on average.
-92,000 children in the state have parents that would benefit from an increase.
-70 percent of the workers that stand to gain are adults.
-Women workers are more likely than men benefit from the increase.
-Most workers are employed in the service sector, especially retail trade, leisure and hospitality industries.
The analysis also points out that there is little national evidence to support the view that minimum wage increases are “job killers.” Data from Wisconsin refutes it as well. In the context of an increased minimum wage, Wisconsin’s economy continues to grow, with strong growth posted by the eating and drinking industry which is the most substantially impacted by the wage increases.
Presently, 19 states have minimum wages set above the Wisconsin minimum wage level (see Table 1 in the attached .pdf ). And ten states have already indexed their minimum wages to inflation. Indexing the minimum wage helps to build a stronger wage floor and helps the state’s lowest paid workers keep up with inflation.
“If the minimum wage had grown with inflation and productivity, it would be nearly $20 per hour today,” said Joel Rogers, Director of COWS. “Indexing the wage to inflation is a small step, but an important one for workers in the state.”
COWS minimum wage policy brief is one of seven policy briefs released today which highlight concrete policy ideas for the state as part of COWS’ Building a Stronger Wisconsin initiative. The seven reports can be found at www.cows.org/wisconsin.
Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) is a non-profit, nonpartisan “think-and-do tank” dedicated to improving economic performance and living standards in the state of Wisconsin and nationally. Based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, COWS works to promote “high road” strategies that support living wages, environmental sustainability, strong communities, and public accountability. For more information visit: www.cows.org