The US Minimum Wage History In Real Dollars

The minimum wage was first created by president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 at a modest 25 cents. Inflation adjusted, that would only be worth $4.07 today.

In the below chart, the grey line represents the minimum wage unadjusted for inflation, while the blue line shows the minimum wage in 2012 dollars. Today’s $7.25 is towards the middle of the minimum wage’s historical real value. The lowest the minimum wage reached was about $3.81 real dollars in 1948 and the highest was about $10.56 real dollars in 1968.

President Obama’s $9.00 per hour proposal would bring the minimum wage to one of its highest levels in real dollars, and would be the higher than the current wage laws in 49 of the 50 states.

Minimum Wage History