Did you know that roughly 1.5 million people in the US earned minimum wage in 2013? That means that roughly 5% of the nation’s workers were earning minimum wage.
A staggering number of those earning minimum wage were in the food preparation and serving industry, but many in the following industries also earned minimum wage:
- Personal care
- Office and administrative support (temps)
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Healthcare support
- Production and manufacturing
- Farming, fishing, and forestry
The list goes on!
There is a lot of focus placed on the horrors of minimum wage, and here are a few myths you may have heard circulating:
1. Families Suffer Most from Low Minimum Wage
If you examined the statistics on the minimum wage, you’ll find that 50% of those being paid such a low salary are between the ages of 16 and 24, with 24% of minimum wage earners being between the ages of 16 and 19. Roughly only 1% of minimum wage earners are married and/or have children.
It’s not the families that are hit the hardest, but the youth trying to pay for an education and starting a new life that suffer most.
2. Employers Cannot Afford to Pay Higher Wages
If most minimum wage earners were employed by small businesses, this might be true. However, it’s estimated that roughly 66% of low-wage workers work for big corporations (think McDonalds or Wal-Mart). These massive chains can easily afford to increase the hourly salary of employees without suffering huge losses to their profits. Most of these corporations and companies have recovered from the 2008 recession, and their executives are earning generous pay packages. It’s definitely possible to spread the wealth!
3. Increasing the Minimum Wage Would Cost A Lot of Jobs
Many critics of the minimum wage concept cry that people would lose their jobs if the minimum wage were to be raised, as companies could no longer afford to pay the same number of employees. But companies aren’t hiring people according to the amount of work they can squeeze out of them for a certain dollar amount, but they’re hiring them to meet a need. That need won’t decrease by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, with more people spending more money, the need for employees in low-wage positions will simply increase.
4. Minorities Suffer Most from Low Wages
Completely untrue! It’s estimated that roughly 78% of those in low-wage positions are white, and 79% of those in hourly-wage positions are white as well. Minimum wage is completely color-blind, and it will affect everyone equally.
5. Raising the Wage Could Affect Small Businesses
Remember, 66% of the low-wage workers we’re talking about are hired by massive companies and corporations. That means that just 33% of the low-wage workforce is currently working for small and medium businesses. While they may take a hit initially, they will be far less affected by a rise in the minimum wage than the huge companies that employ hundreds or thousands of workers at an incredibly low wage.
See Also: Survivor America: Living on Minimum Wage
The truth is that raising the minimum wage would benefit everyone in the long run! People would be making more money, and thus would have more money to spend, earning the companies more money to pay their employees. Why hasn’t this changed already?
What are your views on raising the minimum wage? Your thoughts and comments below please..