Focus on the Nominal and the Real Value of the Minimum Wage
This assignment provides instructions on building the graph below and includes writing prompts for out-of-class assignments.
Using GeoFRED® to Compare Minimum Wages Across States
This assignment provides instructions on creating the map below and suggests prompts for in-class discussion. See how you do on our sample discussion question below.
Click on the map above to view an interactive version.
Question: Name three states where the minimum wage was above $10 an hour in 2020. Be sure to look at all 50 states.
Learning About the Minimum Wage to Forecast Changes in Employment
In January 2021, nonfarm payroll employment changed little. Read on for more details and a list of resources to become a better FREDcast forecaster.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “In January 2021…nonfarm payroll employment changed little.”
“Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in January (+49,000) but is below its February 2020 level by 9.9 million, or 6.5 percent.”
Resources to become a better FREDcast forecaster:
- Page One Economics: “Would Increasing the Minimum Wage Reduce Poverty?“
- Economic Synopses: “The Evolution of St. Louis’s Wage Distribution.“
- Economic Synopses: “What Could We Have Expected from a $10 Minimum Wage in the City of St. Louis?“
- FRED Blog: “Comparing the minimum wage with the average wage.“
Quiz Yourself on the Economics of the Minimum Wage
The graph above shows the value of the minimum wage as a proportion of the average wage (in blue) and the mean value of that calculation (in purple).
Q1. Between 1965 and 2020, what was the mean value of the minimum wage as a proportion of the average wage?
Q2. Between 1965 and 2020, when was the minimum wage closest in value to the average wage?
Q3. Between 1965 and 2020, when did the minimum wage represent the smallest fraction of the average wage?
The graph above shows the value of the minimum wage periodically revised by Congress (in blue), and its 1984 value had it been indexed to the consumer price index at that time (in purple).
Q1. As of December 2020, which one is higher?
Q2. Between 1984 and 2020, was the minimum wage set by Congress ever higher than the hypothetical inflation-indexed 1984 minimum wage?
Q1. When did Congress first set a minimum wage for farm workers?
Q2. When did Congress make the minimum wage for farm workers and nonfarm workers equal?
Q3. When the two minimum wages set by Congress were different, which one was lower?
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