The federal minimum wage rose from $6.55 an hour to $
After inflation, the latest minimum wage increase is still no higher than it was in the early 1980s, and it is 17 percent lower than its peak in 1968. That means that no matter how hard they work, many low-wage workers keep falling behind. To some extend, the latest increase will slow down the decline in living standards.
The minimum wage also sets a floor by which other wages are set. Keeping it low keeps wages lower than they would be otherwise, especially for jobs that are just above the minimum-wage level. According to the Department of labor, 50 percent occupations expected to add the most jobs through 2016 are “very low paying,” up to a maximum of about $
Barack Obama proposed lifting the the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011 during the presidential campaign to adjust for inflation. The minimum wage of $9.50 an hour would be restored to its historical highs — about 50 percent of the average wage.