National study confirms: Minimum wage increase good for our economy and communities

Clark Biegler
Jan 24, 2014

New research from the Economic Policy Institute provides yet more evidence of how raising the minimum wage benefits the economy and our communities. A higher minimum wage would increase the purchasing power of Minnesota families, so that they’re able to buy basics like food, clothing, and school supplies.

This particular study examines the impact of increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by July 2016, and finds it would directly and indirectly increase wages for about 462,000 Minnesotans. Nationally, the increase in wages would boost the economy, growing the national GDP by about $22 billion over the phase-in.

Increasing the minimum wage provides a wage boost particularly to those who tend to be left behind in our economy, including women and people of color.

  • Almost 56 percent of workers who would benefit from increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 are women, which translates to over 20 percent of all female workers in the state.
  • About 36 percent of Hispanic workers, 30 percent of Black workers, and 26 percent of Asian or other non-white workers would benefit from the increase.

More than three-quarters of those who would earn higher wages are working adults and almost 40 percent are working full time.

An increase in the minimum wage would also help families. An estimated 169,000 Minnesota children have at least one parent who would benefit from a $10.10 an hour federal minimum wage.

This study adds to the growing body of evidence that increasing the minimum wage would improve the lives of thousands of Minnesota workers in these tough times, including many shut out of the recovery. Minnesota legislators should not wait for Congress to act – they should raise the state’s minimum wage in the 2014 Legislative Session.

-Clark Biegler