More Idaho workers earned minimum wage in 2012 than in any year since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping track a decade ago.
The Idaho Department of Labor reports 7.7 percent of Idaho hourly workers earned $7.25 an hour or less last year. That’s up from 5 percent in 2011. The new data show Idaho has the largest share of minimum-wage workers in the country.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics estimated that 31,000 of Idaho’s 404,000 hourly workers were paid the minimum wage last year, an increase of 12,000 from 2011, when 5 percent of the state’s hourly workforce made the minimum wage or less. That ranked the state 30th in 2011.
At 7.7 percent, it was the highest percentage of minimum wage workers the state has recorded in the decade that the bureau has been making estimates. The previous high was in 2010 at 7.6 percent, which ranked 16th among the states. – Idaho Department of Labor
The Labor Department says three in four Idaho jobs created last year were in the service sector, an area saturated with minimum wage jobs.
Nationally, the share of workers earning minimum wage dropped from 5.2 percent to 4.7 percent in 2012.
Idaho has one of the lowest minimum wages in the West. The hourly wage hasn’t changed in Idaho since 2009. There’s now a push from the Obama administration to increase the federal minimum to $9 per hour.
The most current data available shows Idaho’s median hourly wage is $14.51.
This table shows the actual number of hourly minimum wage earners in the 50 states. Idaho has more than double the minimum wage workers as Hawaii and Oregon, and more than seven times the number of hourly minimum wage workers in neighboring Montana.
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