Texas Tied With Mississippi For Most Minimum Wage Employees - The Houston Employment Law Blog

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Texas Tied With Mississippi For Most Minimum Wage Employees

Hourly wages aren't so high in Texas. Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 9.5 percent of Texas workers are paid at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This makes the Lone Star state tied with Mississippi for the state with the highest proportion of hourly-paid workers earning at or below minimum wage levels.

Perhaps the worst news of all is that the state is seeing more low wage workers getting paid at or below minimum wage levels each year. According to the Houston Chronicle, about 550,000 Texans were getting paid these low wages, which is up by 76,000 workers from that of 2009. The median wage for hourly workers in Texas was at $11.20, which is below the national median of $12.50. Hence, it looks like employers in Texas might need new efforts to pay their workers higher wages.

Why do Texas employers offer such low wages? A policy analyst with the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities stated that the high proportion of hourly workers earning at or below the minimum wage is reflective of the state’s low high school and college completion rates. Because many people do not complete higher education in the state, Texas has difficulties attracting higher-paying jobs to the region. According to Cheryl Abbot, a regional economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas simply has a large amount of low-paying industries.

If you want higher wages, then perhaps you should look for work in California, Washington, Oregon, or Alaska. NBC News reported that all of these states were tied for the lowest percentage of workers earning at or below the minimum wage based on the information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These four states all reportedly have a state minimum wage requirement that is higher than the federal rate.

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