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18-1287-PHL
Friday, August 03, 2018

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Minimum Wage Workers in Pennsylvania — 2017

Of the 3,415,000 workers paid hourly rates in Pennsylvania in 2017, approximately 43,000 earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, while 64,000 earned less, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the 106,000 workers earning the federal minimum wage or less made up 3.1 percent of all hourly paid workers in the state. Nationwide, those earning the federal minimum or less accounted for 2.3 percent of the hourly paid workforce. (See table 1.The Pennsylvania minimum wage is equal to the prevailing federal minimum wage.)

In 2007, 69,000 hourly paid workers earned the prevailing federal minimum wage or less in Pennsylvania, the lowest level since data were first available in 1998. The 69,000 workers in this category accounted for 2.0 percent of all hourly paid workers in the state. (See chart 1.) In 2007 the federal minimum wage began increasing after remaining flat for nearly a decade. Two additional increases in the federal minimum wage followed, resulting in more Pennsylvania workers falling into this category, peaking at 206,000 in 2010. That number has declined in 6 of the 7 years since the peak.

From 2016 to 2017, the portion of hourly paid workers in Pennsylvania who earned at or below the federal minimum wage declined from 4.1 to 3.1 percent. The percentage of workers earning less than the federal minimum wage dipped 0.1 percentage point in 2017 to 1.9 percent; the share earning exactly the minimum wage decreased 0.9 percentage point to 1.2 percent.

Of the 106,000 workers earning the federal minimum wage or less in Pennsylvania in 2017, 66,000, or 62.3 percent, were women. These women represented 3.8 percent of all women paid hourly rates in the state. There were 40,000 men earning the minimum wage or less in Pennsylvania, accounting for 2.4 percent of all men paid hourly rates in the state. (See table 2.)

In 2017, Pennsylvania’s 3.1-percent proportion of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage ranked 12th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, tying with both Oklahoma and Texas. The states with the highest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were in the South: Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Virginia (all were about 4 percent). The states with the lowest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were in the West or Midwest: California, Washington, Montana, and Minnesota (all were less than 1 percent). It should be noted that many states have minimum wage laws establishing standards that exceed the federal minimum wage. As of January 1, 2018, 29 states and the District of Columbia had minimum wage rates that exceeded the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. (See table 1 and chart 2.)


Technical Note

The estimates in this release were obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment. The survey is conducted monthly for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau using a scientifically selected national sample of about 60,000 eligible households in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey also provides data on earnings, which are based on one-fourth of the CPS monthly sample and are limited to wage and salary workers. All self-employed workers, both incorporated and unincorporated, are excluded from these earnings estimates.

Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from the true population values they represent. The component of this difference that occurs because samples differ by chance is known as sampling error, and its variability is measured by the standard error of the estimate. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the true population value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence.

The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling error can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the population, inability to obtain information for all respondents in the sample, inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information, and errors made in the collection or processing of the data. For example, respondents may round their hourly earnings to whole dollars when answering survey questions.

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.

Some workers reported as earning at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage may not, in fact, be covered by federal or state minimum wage laws because of exclusions and exemptions in the statutes. The presence of workers with hourly earnings below the federal minimum wage does not necessarily indicate violations of the FLSA or state statutes in cases where such standards apply.

Estimates of the number of minimum wage workers in this release pertain only to workers who are paid hourly rates. Salaried workers and other workers who are not paid by the hour are excluded, even though some have earnings that, if converted to hourly rates, would be at or below the federal minimum wage. Consequently, the estimates presented in this release likely understate the actual number of workers with hourly earnings at or below the minimum wage.

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 for the main concepts presented in this report are below.

Wage and salary workers. Workers age 16 and older who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payments in kind, or piece rates on their sole or principal job. This group includes employees in both the private and public sectors. All self-employed workers are excluded whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Workers paid at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage pertain only to workers who are paid hourly rates. Salaried workers and other nonhourly paid workers are excluded.

Hourly earnings. Hourly earnings data are for wage and salary workers who are paid by the hour and refer to a person’s sole or principal job. Hourly earnings for hourly paid workers do not include overtime pay, commissions, or tips received.

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.

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.

Table 1. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by state, 2017 annual averages
State Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage 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 At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total, 16 years and older

80,439 1,824 542 1,282 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.3 0.7 1.6

Alabama

1,189 40 26 14 1.5 2.2 4.8 1.1 3.4 2.2 1.2

Alaska

203 2 1 1 0.3 0.1 0.2 0.1 1.2 0.6 0.5

Arizona

1,644 29 2 27 2.0 1.6 0.4 2.1 1.8 0.1 1.6

Arkansas

769 14 3 11 1.0 0.8 0.5 0.9 1.8 0.4 1.4

California

9,685 52 14 39 12.0 2.9 2.5 3.0 0.5 0.1 0.4

Colorado

1,292 22 0 22 1.6 1.2 0.0 1.7 1.7 0.0 1.7

Connecticut

937 14 1 14 1.2 0.8 0.2 1.1 1.5 0.1 1.5

Delaware

266 8 2 6 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 2.9 0.8 2.1

District of Columbia

116 4 1 3 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 3.0 0.6 2.4

Florida

4,726 123 6 116 5.9 6.7 1.1 9.1 2.6 0.1 2.5

Georgia

2,288 73 30 43 2.8 4.0 5.6 3.3 3.2 1.3 1.9

Hawaii

372 6 1 5 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.4 1.7 0.3 1.4

Idaho

477 16 5 11 0.6 0.9 0.9 0.9 3.3 1.0 2.3

Illinois

3,147 79 18 61 3.9 4.3 3.3 4.8 2.5 0.6 1.9

Indiana

1,937 59 24 35 2.4 3.2 4.4 2.7 3.0 1.2 1.8

Iowa

962 16 6 10 1.2 0.9 1.2 0.8 1.7 0.7 1.0

Kansas

825 26 9 17 1.0 1.4 1.7 1.3 3.2 1.1 2.1

Kentucky

1,176 52 17 35 1.5 2.9 3.2 2.7 4.4 1.5 3.0

Louisiana

1,061 39 15 24 1.3 2.1 2.7 1.9 3.6 1.4 2.3

Maine

366 10 1 8 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.7 2.7 0.4 2.3

Maryland

1,458 39 11 28 1.8 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.7 0.8 1.9

Massachusetts

1,567 40 4 36 1.9 2.2 0.7 2.8 2.5 0.2 2.3

Michigan

2,711 57 6 52 3.4 3.1 1.0 4.0 2.1 0.2 1.9

Minnesota

1,649 14 6 8 2.1 0.8 1.1 0.6 0.9 0.4 0.5

Mississippi

704 29 15 14 0.9 1.6 2.7 1.1 4.1 2.1 2.0

Missouri

1,634 33 4 29 2.0 1.8 0.8 2.3 2.0 0.3 1.8

Montana

291 2 0 2 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.8 0.2 0.7

Nebraska

540 7 1 6 0.7 0.4 0.2 0.5 1.3 0.2 1.1

Nevada

883 12 6 6 1.1 0.7 1.1 0.5 1.4 0.7 0.7

New Hampshire

382 8 2 6 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.5 2.1 0.5 1.6

New Jersey

1,788 27 8 19 2.2 1.5 1.4 1.5 1.5 0.4 1.1

New Mexico

505 14 3 11 0.6 0.8 0.5 0.9 2.7 0.5 2.2

New York

4,236 75 28 47 5.3 4.1 5.2 3.7 1.8 0.7 1.1

North Carolina

2,481 82 28 54 3.1 4.5 5.2 4.2 3.3 1.1 2.2

North Dakota

234 5 1 4 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.3 2.0 0.5 1.5

Ohio

3,391 58 6 52 4.2 3.2 1.1 4.1 1.7 0.2 1.5

Oklahoma

901 28 12 16 1.1 1.5 2.3 1.2 3.1 1.4 1.7

Oregon

1,094 13 3 10 1.4 0.7 0.6 0.8 1.2 0.3 0.9

Pennsylvania

3,415 106 43 64 4.2 5.8 7.9 5.0 3.1 1.2 1.9

Rhode Island

298 4 1 3 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.3 1.4 0.2 1.1

South Carolina

1,132 43 14 29 1.4 2.4 2.6 2.3 3.8 1.2 2.6

South Dakota

264 5 1 4 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.3 1.8 0.4 1.4

Tennessee

1,706 69 26 43 2.1 3.8 4.8 3.4 4.1 1.5 2.5

Texas

6,290 196 78 118 7.8 10.7 14.5 9.2 3.1 1.2 1.9

Utah

900 21 13 9 1.1 1.2 2.3 0.7 2.4 1.4 1.0

Vermont

177 3 1 2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 1.8 0.8 1.1

Virginia

1,978 70 15 55 2.5 3.9 2.8 4.3 3.6 0.8 2.8

Washington

1,910 14 3 12 2.4 0.8 0.5 0.9 0.8 0.1 0.6

West Virginia

459 10 2 7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.6 2.1 0.5 1.6

Wisconsin

1,862 50 17 33 2.3 2.7 3.1 2.6 2.7 0.9 1.8

Wyoming

164 4 2 2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.2 2.2 0.9 1.2

Note: Data exclude all self-employed workers, whether or not their businesses are incorporated. 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.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 2. Employed wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage and median earnings of hourly paid workers in Pennsylvania, by gender, annual averages, 2007–2017
Year 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 At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Men

2007

1,669 20 1 19 1.2 0.1 1.1 $13.98

2008

1,667 30 4 26 1.8 0.2 1.6 13.98

2009

1,568 45 18 27 2.9 1.1 1.7 14.54

2010

1,615 74 31 43 4.6 1.9 2.7 14.93

2011

1,683 58 28 30 3.4 1.7 1.8 14.92

2012

1,723 67 34 33 3.9 2.0 1.9 14.89

2013

1,694 64 37 27 3.8 2.2 1.6 15.00

2014

1,655 40 21 19 2.4 1.3 1.1 15.17

2015

1,688 54 22 32 3.2 1.3 1.9 15.12

2016

1,692 59 36 23 3.5 2.1 1.4 15.18

2017

1,682 40 21 19 2.4 1.2 1.1 15.98

Women

2006

1,778 74 25 49 4.2 1.4 2.8 $10.71

2007

1,765 50 3 47 2.8 0.2 2.7 11.06

2008

1,790 54 2 52 3.0 0.1 2.9 11.75

2009

1,738 110 18 92 6.3 1.0 5.3 12.10

2010

1,640 132 60 72 8.0 3.7 4.4 11.97

2011

1,718 135 69 66 7.9 4.0 3.8 12.31

2012

1,726 128 53 75 7.4 3.1 4.3 12.01

2013

1,777 124 58 66 7.0 3.3 3.7 12.56

2014

1,796 116 52 64 6.5 2.9 3.6 12.81

2015

1,836 97 33 64 5.3 1.8 3.5 12.37

2016

1,824 84 36 48 4.6 2.0 2.6 12.61

2017

1,733 66 22 44 3.8 1.3 2.5 13.30

Note: Data exclude all self-employed persons, whether or not their businesses are incorporated. Data for 2007-2009 reflect changes in the minimum wage that took place in those years.

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, August 03, 2018