In May, Democrats delivered on their promise to raise the minimum wage for millions of American workers. The first installment of that raise goes into effect today, July 24, 2007. Since the last increase in the minimum wage in 1997, prices for basic needs, from food to gasoline to child care have skyrocketed. By fighting for and passing this minimum wage increase, Democrats have helped millions of Americans immediately earn an extra $1,500 per year and eventually an additional $4,400 per year when the full $2.10 increase is realized.
For the First Time in Ten Years, the Democratic Congress Secured a Raise in the Federal Minimum Wage for American Workers. The raise in the minimum wage takes place in three stages from the current $5.15 per hour:
- $5.85 per hour, beginning 60 days after the bill’s enactment (the President signed the bill on May 25);
- $6.55 per hour 12 months, or one year, after that sixtieth day; and
- $7.25 per hour 24 months, or two years, after that sixtieth day.
Millions of Americans Will Benefit From this Increase in the Minimum Wage. Nearly 13 million workers, or 10 percent of the U.S. workforce, will directly or indirectly benefit from a raise in the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. [Economic Policy Institute, “Minimum Wage Issue Guide,” 4/07]
- 5.6 million workers (four percent of the workforce) will benefit directly.
- 7.4 million workers (six percent of the workforce) will benefit indirectly via resulting raises.
- 59 percent of those who will benefit are women.
- 10 percent of those who will benefit are single parents and 26 percent are parents.
- 18 percent of those who will benefit are Hispanic American.
- 16 percent of those who will benefit are African American.
In Addition to Workers, Millions of American Families Will Benefit From a Raise in the Minimum Wage. Forty-six percent of all families with an affected worker rely on that worker as the sole breadwinner, and well-over half of affected workers contribute more than half of their families’ weekly earnings, including single parents who disproportionably make up 10 percent of affected workers. Moreover, 6.4 million children of minimum wage earners will benefit when their parents’ earnings are increased. [Economic Policy Institute, “Minimum Wage Issue Guide,” 4/07; Jared Bernstein Testimony before Senate Finance Committee, 1/10/07, “Minimum Wage Trends, Understanding past and contemporary research,” 10/24/06]