0.8% of Workers Are Over 29 and Earn Minimum Wage or Less

April 30, 2014 - 4:14 PM

McDonalds Drive-Thru

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - A majority of the Americans who worked for the minimum wage or less in 2013 were 24 years old or younger, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and only 0.8 percent of American workers were 29 or older and worked for the minimum wage or less.

A supermajority of 67.5 percent who earned the minimum wage or less in 2013, according to BLS, worked in what the government calls the “Leisure and Hospitality” industry. This includes restaurants, bars, hotels, theatres, amusement parks and other facilities catering to people pursuing recreational activities.

Workers who get tips on the job can be paid less than the legal minimum wage if their combined wages and tips exceed the minimum wage.

Percentage of Workers Earning Minimum Wage or Less

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) today tried to get that chamber to move forward with a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. However, a cloture vote to end debate—which requires a majority of 60—failed 54 to 42, with four members not voting. No Republican voted for cloture.

The Congressional Budget Office reported earlier this year that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 “would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers.”

In total in 2013, according to the BLS, 143,929,000 people were employed in some kind of job in the United States. Of these, a total of 3,300,000—or about 2.3 percent—earned the minimum wage or less. Of those earning the minimum wage or less, 1,663,000 were between 16 and 24 years old. That equaled about 50.4 percent of the people earning the minimum wage or less.

Another 436,000 earning the minimum wage or less were from 25 to 29 year of age.

That leave 1,201,000—or 0.8 percent of American workers—who earned the minimum wage or less and were older than 29.

According to the BLS data, American earning the minimum wage or less were not only concentrated among young people but also in certain industries.

Minimum Wage Workers in the Leisure and Hospitality Industry

After the Leisure and Hospitality industry, which employed 67.5 percent of all workers earning the minimum wage or less, came the Retail Trade industry, which employed 7.1 percent of the people earning the minimum wage or less. The third largest employer of workers at or below the minimum wage was the Education and Health Services industry, which employed 6.6 percent of the workers earning at that level.

The Education and Health Services industry includes private and public, for-profit and non-profit schools, colleges, universities and training centers. It also includes hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care facilities and social assistance services (including community food and housing services).