December 2006, Vol. 129, No. 12
Proportion of workers in selected pay ranges by region and State, 2005
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Excerpt from the report:
State differences in the distribution of workers earning hourly rates above or below the Federal minimum wage of $5.15 are a function not only of the occupational distribution and prevailing wages in each State, but also of the widely ranging State minimum wage provisions above the current Federal minimum.1 Since the last regional report on State pay ranges was issued with 2002 data,2 some States that previously did not have minimum wage provisions have added them, while others have begun indexing existing State minimum wage requirements to provide annual increases. Several States that have not had minimum wage laws held referendums in 2006, allowing voters to determine whether their State should have provisions beyond the Federal minimum wage.
In 2005, 2.5 percent of the 75.6 million U.S. wage and salary workers who were paid hourly rates earned the Federal minimum wage of $5.15 or less, down from 2.7 percent of such workers in 2004, 2.9 percent in 2003, and 3.0 percent in 2002. Among the census regions, the South recorded the highest proportion of workers with earnings in this range, 3.1 percent, and the West registered the lowest share, 1.5 percent. Among the nine census geographic divisions, the West South Central reported the largest percentage at or below $5.15, 3.4 percent, while the Pacific had the smallest, 0.9 percent. (See table 1.)
1 State minimum wage provisions vary from the Federal provisions not only in hourly wage rates, but in size of establishment covered (number employed or annual revenue), youth provisions, and other factors.
2 See "Proportions of workers in selected pay ranges, by region and State," Marie-Claire Guillard, Monthly Labor Review, September 2003, pp. 41–3.
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