Profile America: Minimum Wage


The business world was confronted with a new idea on this date in 1914, when Henry Ford announced that he would reduce the workday from nine to eight hours and pay his factory assembly line workers a minimum wage of$5 a day, which is more than $118 in current dollars. The idea eventually gained general acceptance, and in 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a federally mandated minimum wage of 25 cents an hour. Currently, the hourly minimum wage is $7.25. There are nearly 76 million hourly workers in the U.S., 3.3 million of them paid at or below the minimum wage. Households in the bottom 20 percent of income earn no more than $21,432 per year.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau

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