More than 75.9 million workers were paid at hourly rates last year, accounting for 59 percent of all workers, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
The share of workers earning an hourly wage at or below the federal minimum fell from 4.7 percent in 2012, according to the report, which is based on estimates from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. For many workers who earn less than the minimum wage, tips supplement hourly wages.
President Barack Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by the end of 2016, saying an increase would lift millions of low-wage workers out of poverty. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants the Democratic-led chamber to consider a measure to raise the minimum wage next week.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said yesterday that a wage hike is a “very bad idea from a number of perspectives.”
“Probably the biggest is it would actually hurt job creation, especially among the low-skilled workers,” Holtz-Eakin said on Bloomberg Television’s “Bottom Line.”
Sixty-nine percent of Americans support a minimum wage increase, though 57 percent say it’s unacceptable if it means job losses, according to a Bloomberg National Poll earlier this month.