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The overall federal minimum wage in current U.S. Dollars.
The overall federal minimum wage in current U.S. Dollars.  

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Still On Edge With Minimum Wage Increase
Published Friday, January 23rd, 2009

As a part of the emergency spending legislation of 2007 signed into effect by former President Bush, the three year-over-year increase in minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 will come to a conclusion this summer. This will end the longest span without a federal minimum increase. Enacted in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act set the minimum wage at $.25 cents/hour. This legislation was set to enforce a minimum that workers could be paid which would lift the living standards of workers and families. Yet, according the a 2006 Congressional Research Service, linking the minimum wage to the dollar’s real purchasing power the wage would have reached $9.05 prior to the first of the three increases.

In 2008 federal poverty threshold for singles is $11,201; couples, $14,417; and for families of three, $16,841. Yet, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the thresholds reflect price changes in 2008; thus, they are approximately equal to the Census Bureau poverty thresholds for calendar year 2008. To put this into perspective, a person working at the minimum wage of  $7.25/hour at 40 hours a week will earn, before taxes, $14,872. Accordingly, if only one parent works at minimum wage, the family of 3 (2 parents and a child) will not meet the federal minimum for basic needs in 2009.

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U.S. Department of Labor - http://www.dol.gov/index.htm
The Department of Labor fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements.

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U.S. Job Corps - http://jobcorps.dol.gov/about.htm
Job Corps is a no-cost education and vocational training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 through 24 get a better job, make more money, and take control of their lives.