01 July 2007

37% "directly affected" by Pennsylvania minimum wage increase?

Pennsylvania's minimum wage was raised from $6.25 to $7.15 effective today.

According to the AFL-CIO, "37 percent of Pennsylvania workers who would benefit directly from a minimum wage increase work full time". The point that the AFL-CIO is trying to make here is that it's not just high-school kids working part-time who work for minimum wage.

This was misreported on myphl17 as that 37 percent of workers would be "directly affected" by the raising of the minimum wage. I take this to mean that 37 percent of Pennsylvania workers make between $6.25 and $7.14 an hour, which seemed ridiculously high. Of course, "directly affected" is vague, and might not mean exactly that. But it seems like the right interpretation.

The Keystone Research Center, in fact, said that "427,000 Pennsylvania workers would benefit directly from an increase in the state's minimum hourly wage from $5.15 to $7.15 by January 2007". The raise ended up happening in two steps, to $6.25 six months ago and then to $7.15 today; they further break it down to say that about 100,000 workers were making between $5.15 and $6.24, and 300,000 between $6.25 and $7.14. The population of Pennsylvania is about 12 million. So 2.5 percent of all Pennsylanians are "directly affected" by this raise; perhaps five percent of workers are.

Incidentally, I support raising the minimum wage; although I'm not sure what exactly it should be. The purpose of this post was to point out the numbers that were quoted that just didn't make sense.

1 comment:

Mary Pat said...

Some union contracts have union wages set in reference to statutory minimum wage, usually as some multiple. So that's one way someone not working minimum wage could be directly affected. I doubt that would get it to 37%, but there ya go.