Texas Workers Concerned About Minimum Wage
by: Andrew Schneider, July 25, 2011 10:07:00 am
By recent history, two years isn't much of a gap between minimum wage increases. The rate stayed the same for nine years during the eighties and early nineties. But Texans have a special reason to be concerned. That's according to Anne Thompson, a policy analyst with the National Employment Law Project.
"In the last year, the number of minimum wage workers shot up in Texas by 76,000. So as the recession hits, and better-paying jobs disappear, and there's a tremendous pressure downward on wages, we see more and more workers in Texas depending on minimum wage to get by."
About 334,000 Texans work for $7.25 an hour — roughly 9.5% of the state's workforce. That ties Texas with Mississippi for the highest percentage of minimum wage workers in the country.
Inflation has risen 5% since 2009. That's cut the buying power of the minimum wage by $0.35. The National Employment Law Project is advocating an increase in the federal minimum wage to $9.50 an hour in order to spur consumer spending.