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13-436-ATL

Thursday, March 28, 2013

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Minimum Wage Workers in North Carolina–2012

Of the 2.2 million workers paid hourly rates in North Carolina in 2012, 74,000 earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, while 63,000 earned less, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that the 137,000 workers earning the federal minimum wage or less made up 6.2 percent of all hourly-paid workers in the state. Nationwide, those earning the federal minimum or less accounted for 4.7 percent of the hourly-paid workforce. (The North Carolina minimum wage is equal to the prevailing federal minimum wage.)

In 2007, 46,000 hourly-paid workers earned the prevailing federal minimum wage or less in North Carolina—the lowest level since data were first available in 1998. (See chart 1). It was also in 2007 that the federal minimum wage began increasing after holding steady for almost a decade. The initial result in North Carolina was that more workers fell into this category, peaking at 168,000 in 2010, before declining in each of the last two years.


Chart 1. Percentage of hourly-paid wage and salary workers with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage in North Carolina, annual averages, 2002-2012

Over the year, the portion of hourly-paid workers in North Carolina who earned at or below the federal minimum wage declined from 6.8 to 6.2 percent. The percentage of workers earning less than the federal minimum fell 0.7 percentage point in 2012, while the share earning exactly the minimum wage edged up 0.2 percentage point. As a result, 2012 was the first year that the percentage of workers with earnings at the federal minimum rate exceeded the portion with wages below the minimum.

Of the 137,000 workers earning the prevailing federal minimum wage or less in North Carolina in 2012, 91,000, or 66.4 percent, were women. These women represented 8.1 percent of all women paid hourly rates in North Carolina. Men accounted for 46,000, or 33.6 percent, of all North Carolina workers earning the prevailing minimum wage or less; they made up just 4.2 percent of all men who were paid hourly rates. (See table A.)

Overall, employed wage and salary workers earning hourly rates in the state had median hourly earnings of $11.98 in 2012; nationally, the median was $12.80. The median hourly rates for men and women in North Carolina in 2012 were $12.86 and $11.25, respectively. (See table A.) For the nation, the comparable figures were $13.88 per hour for men and $11.99 per hour for women.


Table A. Employed wage and salary workers (1) paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage in North Carolina, by sex, annual averages
North Carolina Number of workers (in thousands) Percent of workers paid hourly rates Median earnings (in dollars)
Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below minimum wage
Total (2) At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total (2) At minimum wage Below minimum wage
Total, both sexes

2002

2,037 66 12 54 3.2 0.6 2.7 10.16

2003

2,086 70 19 51 3.4 0.9 2.4 10.10

2004

2,099 54 16 38 2.6 0.8 1.8 10.13

2005

2,176 58 13 45 2.7 0.6 2.1 10.48

2006

2,246 52 12 40 2.3 0.5 1.8 10.74

2007

2,156 46 4 42 2.1 0.2 1.9 10.77

2008

2,235 78 11 67 3.5 0.5 3.0 11.26

2009

2,132 136 38 98 6.4 1.8 4.6 11.93

2010

2,121 168 73 95 7.9 3.4 4.5 11.78

2011

2,055 140 65 75 6.8 3.2 3.6 11.83

2012

2,206 137 74 63 6.2 3.4 2.9 11.98
Total, men

2002

1,002 24 4 20 2.4 0.4 2.0 11.14

2003

993 22 10 12 2.2 1.0 1.2 10.90

2004

1,052 20 5 15 1.9 0.5 1.4 10.79

2005

1,088 15 5 10 1.4 0.5 0.9 11.08

2006

1,115 18 4 14 1.6 0.4 1.3 11.85

2007

1,053 16 1 15 1.5 0.1 1.4 11.60

2008

1,094 26 7 19 2.4 0.6 1.7 12.04

2009

1,022 48 17 31 4.7 1.7 3.0 12.40

2010

1,018 65 33 32 6.4 3.2 3.1 12.11

2011

1,018 56 31 25 5.5 3.0 2.5 12.25

2012

1,088 46 28 18 4.2 2.6 1.7 12.86
Total, women

2002

1,034 42 8 34 4.1 0.8 3.3 9.49

2003

1,093 48 9 39 4.4 0.8 3.6 9.73

2004

1,046 32 10 22 3.1 1.0 2.1 9.91

2005

1,088 43 8 35 4.0 0.7 3.2 9.99

2006

1,131 34 8 26 3.0 0.7 2.3 10.10

2007

1,103 30 4 26 2.7 0.4 2.4 10.20

2008

1,141 51 3 48 4.5 0.3 4.2 10.80

2009

1,110 89 22 67 8.0 2.0 6.0 11.13

2010

1,103 103 40 63 9.3 3.6 5.7 11.22

2011

1,037 85 35 50 8.2 3.4 4.8 11.20

2012

1,118 91 46 45 8.1 4.1 4.0 11.25

Footnotes:
(1) All self-employed persons are excluded, whether or not their businesses are incorporated.
(2) Data may not add to totals due to rounding.

In 2012, North Carolina's proportion of hourly-paid workers earning at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage ranked 10th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Idaho had the highest proportion of hourly-paid workers earning at or below the prevailing Federal minimum wage, 7.7 percent, followed by Texas at 7.5 percent and Oklahoma at 7.2 percent. Louisiana was the only other state with shares of 7.0 percent or higher (7.1 percent). The states with the lowest percentage of workers earning the federal minimum wage or below included Alaska, Oregon, California, Montana, and Washington, all less than 2.0 percent. It should be noted that, as of January 1, 2013, 18 states and the District of Columbia had laws establishing minimum wage standards that exceeded the federal level of $7.25 per hour. (See table 1 and chart 2.)

Chart 2. Minimum wage laws in the States, January 1, 2013

 

Technical Note

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' data on minimum wage earners are derived from the Current Population Survey (CPS). This survey is conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau, using a national sample of about 60,000 households, with coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The earnings data are collected from one-fourth of the CPS monthly sample. Data in this summary are annual averages.

Statistics based on the CPS data are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. The differences among data for the states reflect, in part, variations in the occupation, industry, and age composition of each state's labor force. In addition, sampling error for the state estimates is considerably larger than it is for the national data.

Minimum wage worker data, particularly levels, for each year are not strictly comparable with data for earlier years because of the introduction of revised population controls used in the CPS. For technical documentation and related information, including reliability of the CPS estimates, see www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm.

It should be noted that the presence of a sizable number of workers with reported wages below the minimum does not necessarily indicate violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as there are exemptions to the minimum wage provisions of the law. The estimates of the numbers of minimum and subminimum wage workers presented in the accompanying tables pertain to workers paid at hourly rates; salaried and other non-hourly workers are excluded. As such, the actual number of workers with earnings at or below the prevailing minimum is undoubtedly understated.

The prevailing Federal minimum wage was $2.90 in 1979, $3.10 in 1980, and $3.35 in 1981-89. The minimum wage rose to $3.80 in April 1990, $4.25 in April 1991, $4.75 in October 1996, and $5.15 in September 1997. On July 24, 2007, the Federal minimum wage increased to $5.85 per hour; on July 24, 2008, to $6.55 per hour; and on July 24, 2009, to $7.25 per hour.

The principal definitions used in connection with the earnings series in this release are described below:

Median hourly earnings. The median is the amount which divides a given earnings distribution into two equal groups, one having earnings above the median and the other having earnings below the median. The median is less sensitive to extreme wages than the mean; this makes it a better measure for highly skewed distributions.

Wage and salary workers. Workers age 16 and over who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates. Data refer to earnings on a person's sole or principal job. The group includes employees in both the private and public sectors but, for the purposes of the earnings series, excludes all self-employed persons, regardless of whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Service: 800-877-8339.

OOH Earnings Table Extraction Wizard - output frame
Table 1. Employed wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage by State, 2012 annual averages
State Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percent of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below minimum wage
Total (1) At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total (1) At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total (1) At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total, 16 years and over

75,276 3,550 1,566 1,984 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 4.7 2.1 2.6

Alabama

1,083 65 31 34 1.4 1.8 2.0 1.7 6.0 2.9 3.1

Alaska

194 2 1 1 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.0 0.5 0.5

Arizona

1,472 68 17 51 2.0 1.9 1.1 2.6 4.6 1.2 3.5

Arkansas

725 50 33 17 1.0 1.4 2.1 0.9 6.9 4.6 2.3

California

8,805 127 45 82 11.7 3.6 2.9 4.1 1.4 0.5 0.9

Colorado

1,234 42 7 35 1.6 1.2 0.4 1.8 3.4 0.6 2.8

Connecticut

853 23 2 21 1.1 0.6 0.1 1.1 2.7 0.2 2.5

Delaware

219 11 4 7 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4 5.0 1.8 3.2

District of Columbia

103 5 1 4 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 4.9 1.0 3.9

Florida

4,164 214 49 165 5.5 6.0 3.1 8.3 5.1 1.2 4.0

Georgia

2,114 136 60 76 2.8 3.8 3.8 3.8 6.4 2.8 3.6

Hawaii

331 14 7 7 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 4.2 2.1 2.1

Idaho

404 31 16 15 0.5 0.9 1.0 0.8 7.7 4.0 3.7

Illinois

3,065 85 21 64 4.1 2.4 1.3 3.2 2.8 0.7 2.1

Indiana

1,785 93 50 43 2.4 2.6 3.2 2.2 5.2 2.8 2.4

Iowa

920 46 25 21 1.2 1.3 1.6 1.1 5.0 2.7 2.3

Kansas

780 44 29 15 1.0 1.2 1.9 0.8 5.6 3.7 1.9

Kentucky

1,147 60 30 30 1.5 1.7 1.9 1.5 5.2 2.6 2.6

Louisiana

1,043 74 35 39 1.4 2.1 2.2 2.0 7.1 3.4 3.7

Maine

378 11 3 8 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.4 2.9 0.8 2.1

Maryland

1,327 67 25 42 1.8 1.9 1.6 2.1 5.0 1.9 3.2

Massachusetts

1,567 62 17 45 2.1 1.7 1.1 2.3 4.0 1.1 2.9

Michigan

2,449 90 19 71 3.3 2.5 1.2 3.6 3.7 0.8 2.9

Minnesota

1,522 60 35 25 2.0 1.7 2.2 1.3 3.9 2.3 1.6

Mississippi

700 45 21 24 0.9 1.3 1.3 1.2 6.4 3.0 3.4

Missouri

1,538 97 49 48 2.0 2.7 3.1 2.4 6.3 3.2 3.1

Montana

274 4 1 3 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.2 1.5 0.4 1.1

Nebraska

561 32 17 15 0.7 0.9 1.1 0.8 5.7 3.0 2.7

Nevada

730 23 9 14 1.0 0.6 0.6 0.7 3.2 1.2 1.9

New Hampshire

370 13 5 8 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.4 3.5 1.4 2.2

New Jersey

1,777 103 49 54 2.4 2.9 3.1 2.7 5.8 2.8 3.0

New Mexico

488 23 6 17 0.6 0.6 0.4 0.9 4.7 1.2 3.5

New York

4,075 224 113 111 5.4 6.3 7.2 5.6 5.5 2.8 2.7

North Carolina

2,206 137 74 63 2.9 3.9 4.7 3.2 6.2 3.4 2.9

North Dakota

205 7 3 4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 3.4 1.5 2.0

Ohio

3,277 147 31 116 4.4 4.1 2.0 5.8 4.5 0.9 3.5

Oklahoma

890 64 29 35 1.2 1.8 1.9 1.8 7.2 3.3 3.9

Oregon

982 11 3 8 1.3 0.3 0.2 0.4 1.1 0.3 0.8

Pennsylvania

3,450 195 87 108 4.6 5.5 5.6 5.4 5.7 2.5 3.1

Rhode Island

298 10 2 8 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.4 3.4 0.7 2.7

South Carolina

1,084 59 28 31 1.4 1.7 1.8 1.6 5.4 2.6 2.9

South Dakota

253 12 6 6 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.3 4.7 2.4 2.4

Tennessee

1,554 86 46 40 2.1 2.4 2.9 2.0 5.5 3.0 2.6

Texas

6,060 452 282 170 8.1 12.7 18.0 8.6 7.5 4.7 2.8

Utah

758 37 21 16 1.0 1.0 1.3 0.8 4.9 2.8 2.1

Vermont

184 5 1 4 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2 2.7 0.5 2.2

Virginia

1,803 123 48 75 2.4 3.5 3.1 3.8 6.8 2.7 4.2

Washington

1,705 29 11 18 2.3 0.8 0.7 0.9 1.7 0.6 1.1

West Virginia

453 26 13 13 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.7 5.7 2.9 2.9

Wisconsin

1,745 94 41 53 2.3 2.6 2.6 2.7 5.4 2.3 3.0

Wyoming

173 9 4 5 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 5.2 2.3 2.9

Footnotes:
(1) Data may not add to totals due to rounding.

NOTE: Data exclude all self-employed persons whether or not their businesses are incorporated. Users are reminded that these data are based on a sample and therefore are subject to sampling error; the degree of error may be quite large for less populous States. It is not possible to determine clearly whether workers surveyed in the CPS are actually covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or by individual State minimum wage laws. Thus, some workers reported as earning the prevailing Federal minimum wage may not in fact be covered by Federal or State minimum wage laws. Also, there are a number of States that have minimum wages that exceed the Federal minimum wage. At the same time, the presence of a sizable number of workers with wages below the prevailing Federal minimum wage does not necessarily indicate violations of the FLSA or applicable State laws, because there are numerous exclusions and exemptions to these minimum wage statutes. Hourly earnings do not include overtime pay, commissions, or tips.

 

Last Modified Date: March 28, 2013