August 23, 2000
Of the working 15-, 16-, and 17-year olds in 1998, a majority earned in excess of the minimum wage.
In 1998, median earnings of 15- to 17-year-olds combined were $5.57 per hour. Earnings increased with age: 15-year-olds earned a median of $5.38 per hour, 16-year-olds earned $5.52, and 17-year-olds earned $5.65 per hour.
Even among 15-year-olds, 59 percent of young workers earned more than the 1998 minimum wage of $5.15. A quarter earned less than the minimum wage, as some occupations—including many food service jobs—are exempt from the minimum wage or may pay a training wage for a specified period. The proportion of employed youths that earned more than the minimum wage increased to 71 percent of 16-year olds and to three-quarters of those aged 17.