Young Southern women most likely to make $7.25 or less, says new report


The typical worker making at or below minimum wage is most likely a young, Southern woman working 35 hours or less in the restaurant/hospitality industry, according to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The survey of 60,000 households found that while the largest percentage of workers (21 percent) were in food preparation and food service, the next major cluster of minimum-wage jobs were in personal service industries (6.2 percent): childcare workers, cosmetologists, hotel workers, and lobby attendants.

A few other facts from the report: (h/t to The Washington Post‘s Wonkblog)

  • Workers age 25 or younger made up about half of minimum wage earners. About 5 percent of women earned at or below $7.25 an hour, compared with about 3 percent of men.
  • Minimum wage workers tend to have less schooling, with 7 percent of those without a high school diploma earning the federal minimum wage or less. To compare, about 4 percent of workers had a high school diploma, 4 percent had some college or an associate degree, and 2 percent were college graduates.
  • There was little difference along racial/ethnic lines, as about 4 percent of White workers and Black workers earned minimum wage or lower; Hispanic or Latino and Asian workers each made up around 3 percent of the lowest-paid workers.
  • But, even though Alabama is one of five without a minimum wage law, the BLS report showed that the country’s lowest-paid workers were more likely to come from Tennessee (6.8 percent), Arkansas (6.4 percent), Louisiana (6.3 percent), Mississippi (6.2 percent), or Indiana (6.1 percent) than Alabama (4.9 percent).

The report comes on the heels of analysis revealing that minimum wage dollars earned in Alabama also have greater buying power, thanks to a low-cost standard of living. Earning $7.25 in Alabama compares to a wage of about $8.23 in other states.