Current $7.50 Minimum Wage worth just over $6 when inflation adjusted
January 12, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505
ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico should increase its minimum wage in increments of $1 a year every year until it reaches $12.50 by 2021 and index it so that it increases with inflation. That is the policy recommendation in a new report from New Mexico Voices for Children, a child advocacy organization. The report looks at the demographics of the state’s minimum wage earners, as well as makes the case for indexing the wage.
“It’s been eight years since the state minimum wage was raised and, unless we act soon, it will have the purchasing power of less than $6 in just a few years,” said James Jimenez, executive director of NM Voices. “Raising wages for those at the bottom of the earning scale is an effective way to reduce poverty.”
Of the 248,400 workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, the vast majority—more than 90 percent—are over the age of 20. More women (57 percent) than men (43 percent) would benefit, but men would see a larger wage increase on average. By far the largest racial or ethnic group to benefit would be Hispanics (56 percent) and 58 percent of all worker who would benefit live in families with annual incomes lower than $40,000.
“When we look at workers who would benefit by occupation, the largest group is service workers. These are the people who are caring for our children and elderly, and are educational assistants, in addition to those who work in hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets. These jobs are all integral to our economy and the people who perform them should earn a wage that’s more commiserate with that economic value. Arizona and Colorado, to whom we are often compared, have done the right thing and approved increases to their minimum wage so they will be at $12 an hour by 2020. It is time for New Mexico do the same,” Jimenez said.
The report is available online at https://www.nmvoices.org/archives/8460
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.
625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org