Report: State Minimum Wage Has Lost 16 Percent of its Purchasing Power

2018-09-06T12:32:06+00:00 Press Releases|

Almost a Quarter-Million New Mexican Workers Would Benefit from a Raise

PRESS RELEASE
August 29, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Marie-Pier Frigon, Communications Assistant, NM Voices for Children
505-361-1288 (p), 707-364-5738 (c), 505-244-9509 (f), mfrigon@nmvoices.org

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—The state minimum wage of $7.50 an hour now has the purchasing power of just $6.30, meaning it is no longer worth what it was when it was last increased in 2009. That is one of the conclusions from a new report released today by New Mexico Voices for Children. Among those workers who would benefit the most from an increase are, woman, mothers, and people over the age of 25.

The report was released in advance of Labor Day to highlight the challenges faced by New Mexico’s low-wage workforce.

“Food, utilities, rent, and basics like diapers, have all gotten more expensive in the last nine years, but our minimum wage has stagnated. That $7.50 does not buy what it bought in 2009,” said James Jimenez, executive director of NM Voices. “Given our rate of child poverty, which is the highest in the nation, it’s unconscionable that we haven’t raised the minimum wage to help New Mexico’s hard-working families and our economy.”

While several of the state’s cities and counties have raised their minimum wages, 245,894 workers are earning wages that are at or near the state’s minimum and, therefore, would benefit from an increase. In addition, 100,596 children have at least one parent who would benefit.

“The economic insecurity that comes with earning such a low wage is detrimental to our children, families, and communities,” said Sarah Hyde, a research and policy analyst with NM Voices and the report author. “Economic insecurity impacts every aspect of a child’s life – from physical and mental health to educational performance, nutrition, and even longevity. And the high-stress levels that come with it are physically detrimental to the growing brain, particularly of children under age five.”

The report includes various demographics of the state’s low-wage workforce. It also demonstrates how a wage increase benefits small businesses and the economy. The report’s policy proposals include raising the state minimum wage to $10 in 2020 with incremental increases until it is $12 by 2022, and still allowing municipalities to enact minimum wage laws that reflect the desires of their community as long as they meet the state minimum.

The report, “New Mexicans are Worth More: Raising the State’s Minimum Wage,” is available online here. https://www.nmvoices.org/archives/11933

###

New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project.
The Working Poor Families Project is a national initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, Joyce Foundation, and Kresge Foundation, and is managed by Brandon Roberts + Associates.
625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org