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Inflation and the Real Minimum Wage: A Fact Sheet

CRS – Inflation and the Real Minimum Wage: A Fact Sheet. Craig K. Elwell, Specialist in Macroeconomic Policy; Linda Levine, Specialist in Labor Economics. February 26, 2013

  • “The minimum wage is not indexed to the price level. It has been legislatively increased from time to time to make up for the loss in its real value caused by inflation. In nominal (current dollar) terms, the minimum wage has risen steadily from 25 cents to $7.25 an hour, where it has remained since its effective date of July 2009. As the legislated adjustments to the minimum wage standard have occurred at irregular intervals—sometimes increasing annually, other times not for several years—while prices have generally risen each year, the purchasing power (real or constant dollar value) of the minimum wage has varied considerably since its enactment.”
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