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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Inflation and the Real Minimum Wage: A Fact Sheet



Craig K. Elwell
Specialist in Macroeconomic Policy

Linda Levine
Specialist in Labor Economics


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 established the hourly minimum wage rate at 25 cents for covered workers.1 Since then, it has been raised 22 separate times, in part to keep up with rising prices. Most recently, in July 2009, it was increased to $7.25 an hour. Because there have been some extended periods between these adjustments while inflation generally has increased, the real value (purchasing power) of the minimum wage has decreased substantially over time.


Date of Report: February 26, 2013
Number of Pages: 4
Order Number: R42973
Price: $19.95


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