The minimum wage of the past was a stronger standard, providing significantly more buying power than it does today. After its creation in 1938, the value of the minimum wage rose relatively steadily until its value reached a high point in 1968 (when its nominal value was $1.60 an hour). Thereafter, it suffered dramatic erosion as Congress failed to adequately correct for inflation over time.
The minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1968 would be $10.86 today when adjusted for inflation [see the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index inflation calculator.]
How much the federal minimum wage would be if it had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years. Instead, itís $7.25. Learn More