Here is who made up the minimum wage workforce in 2020
I have written before on why the minimum wage hike is an ineffective tool to lift families out of poverty. Contrary to what proponents claim, the minimum-wage workforce is made up mostly of young, low-skilled individuals, usually working part-time. This is something that has stayed consistent. Just recently the Bureau of Labor Statistics published data confirming this fact for the past year.
As explained by the BLS, when it comes to age, in 2020,
Although workers under age 25 represented just under one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up 48 percent of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19) paid by the hour, about 5 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with 1 percent of workers age 25 and older.
When it comes to education, in 2020
Among hourly paid workers age 16 and older, about 2 percent of those without a high school diploma, high school graduates (no college), and those with some college or an associate degree earned the federal minimum wage or less, compared with 1 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree and higher.
When it comes to marital status, non-married workers were more likely to earn the minimum wage or less. This is not the case for married workers.
Additionally, minimum wage workers mostly worked part-time and were employed in service occupations. In 2020, seven out of ten workers earning the minimum wage or less were employed in service occupations. These were employed mostly in food preparation and serving-related jobs. Accordingly, minimum wage workers were concentrated in the leisure and hospitality industry.
On geographic location, in 2020,
The states with the highest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were in the South: about 4 percent for South Carolina and about 3 percent for Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia. Compared with recent years, a relatively large number of states had less than 1 percent of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
In February, the CBO published a report showing the raising the minimum wage to $15 would lead to a loss of 1.4 million jobs. These are not effects that would accrue among the highly skilled, highly educated people. Instead, these job losses will be concentrated among the young and low-skilled workers with low levels of education that are not productive enough to merit a $15 wage. Unfortunately, that happens to be the majority of most minimum wage workers.