Wages

The vast majority of American households’ income comes from what workers receive in their paychecks – which is why wages are so important. Unfortunately, wages for most workers grew exceptionally slowly between 1979 and 2012, despite productivity—which essentially measures the economy’s potential for providing rising living standards for all—rising 64 percent. In other words, most Americans, even those with college degrees, have only been treading water—despite working more productively (and being better educated) than ever.

EARN groups provide key research and policy analysis describing how these trends have played out at the state and local levels, and what policymakers can do about it.

Publications

Minimum Wage Increase to $15 Means More Income for 1.6M in PA

Governor Wolf’s budget includes a plan to raise the current $7.25 per hour minimum wage to $12 in July 2021, followed by 50-cent increases yearly until July 2027, where it will be set at $15 per hour. This proposal also aims to eliminate the tipped minimum wage, allowing currently tipped workers to join the climb to $15 starting with $12 in July 2021. In this report, we outline the demographic characteristics of workers who will benefit from this plan to increase the minimum wage.

The State of Working Connecticut: Advancing Economic Justice in the Labor Market

Connecticut Voices for Children released their annual State of Working Connecticut report entitled, “Advancing Economic Justice in the Labor Market.”  This year’s report examines the economic standing of Connecticut’s workers and calls for a sweeping, antiracist program to advance economic justice; additionally, it offers six recommendations to combat rising wage inequality and to address the substantial racial wage gaps in the U.S. and Connecticut.

A Minimum Wage Boost Would Improve Equity for 2.5 Million Floridians and Bolster the State’s Post-Pandemic Recovery

On November 3, voters will have the opportunity to decide whether 2.5 million working Floridians receive a wage increase: Amendment 2 seeks to gradually increase the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026. As with all constitutional amendments, 60 percent of voters must vote in favor of Amendment 2 for it to become law.

Using the minimum wage simulation model developed by Economic Policy Institute, this report finds that by 2026, the proposed $15 minimum wage would:

  • increase wages for 2.5 million Floridians, over 26 percent of the workforce;
  • help lift households out of poverty;
  • bring workers of all ages closer to a living wage;
  • benefit Florida’s service sector workers the most; and
  • reduce pay inequities experienced by women and people of color.

We Must Keep our Promises to the Low-Wage Workers who Keep Maryland Communities Going

The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on Maryland communities’ deep reliance on the workers who keep families fed, care for aging adults, and maintain sanitary public spaces. Yet these same workers too often take home wages that cannot support a family, let alone compensate for the daily risks their jobs require. As policymakers respond to the growing economic crisis, they must recognize the need to support the essential workers who support the rest of us. This means strengthening basic protections like the minimum wage and the right to earn paid sick days—not walking back the promises they have already made. Freezing Maryland’s minimum wage at its current, inadequate level would harm the very people now holding up our communities, weaken Maryland’s economy, and ultimately make us all worse off:

  • Freezing the minimum wage would cost a typical low-wage worker more than $7,000 in lost wages by 2025, even as basics like housing and health care continue to become more unaffordable. A proposed—though legally dubious—two-year freeze would cost a typical worker well over $14,000 by 2026.
  • Freezing the minimum wage would do outsized harm to women and workers of color who are overrepresented in low-wage jobs.
  • Freezing the minimum wage would depress consumer spending and weaken Maryland’s economy for years to come.

Further, corporate lobbyists’ recent claims about ignore the best research on the economics of the minimum wage.