6 Jun 2015

40% Of US Workers Now Earn Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage

Are American workers paid enough? That is a topic that is endlessly debated all across this great land of ours. Unfortunately, what pretty much everyone can agree on is that American workers are not making as much as they used to after you account for inflation. Back in 1968, the minimum wage in the United States was $1.60 an hour. That sounds very small, but after you account for inflation a very different picture emerges. Using the inflation calculator that the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides, $1.60 in 1968 is equivalent to $10.74 today.

And of course the official government inflation numbers have been heavily manipulated to make inflation look much lower than it actually is, so the number for today should actually be substantially higher than $10.74, but for purposes of this article we will use $10.74. If you were to work a full-time job at $10.74 an hour for a full year (with two weeks off for vacation), you would make about $21,480 for the year.

That isn’t a lot of money, but according to the Social Security Administration, 40.28% of all workers make less than $20,000 a year in America today. So that means that more than 40 percent of all U.S. workers actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968. That is how far we have fallen.

 Good paying full-time jobs are disappearing, and they are being replaced by low paying part-time jobs. So far this year, 76.7 percent of the jobs that have been “created” in the U.S. economy have been part-time jobs.

That would be depressing enough, but what makes it worse is that wages for many of these low paying jobs have actually been declining over the past decade even as the cost of living keeps going up. The following is from a recent USA Today article…

In the years between 2002 and 2012, real median wages dropped by at least 5% in five of the top 10 low-wage jobs, including food preparers and housekeepers.



  1. you need to re-calculate your numbers, using actual prices of goods people need to survive, and not government manipulated(lollipops and rainbows) numbers. the minimum wage today would be 15 dollars an hour, to equal the 1968 minimum wage. it would probably be even higher if you take out the big city fantasy lands(ny, san fran, boston, ect.)

  2. In 1968 in San Jose California $1.60 would buy nine gallons of gas and $70 would rent a nice 1-2 bedroom apartment.

  3. Beats me where those numbers come from. Gas cost in the low 30c bracket in 1968 - say 31-34 c/gallon