The Workers Who Will Benefit from Raising DC’s Minimum Wage

January 27th, 2014 | by Ed Lazere and Jimmy Gastner, DCFPI extern

This month, Mayor Gray signed into law a bill to raise the DC minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $11.50 an hour by July 2016. Over 64,000 people who work in the District—about 10 percent of the workforce according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—currently make less than $11.50 an hour and will be directly impacted by the wage increase.[1] 

Who are these workers?  What kinds of jobs do they hold?  A review of wages in DC for various occupations shows that the minimum wage increase will mean a lot to many workers with whom we interact and benefit from regularly. 

  • Food Preparation:  The minimum wage increase will mean the most to the 49,000 people who work in food preparation and food serving occupations.  More than half of these workers, including fast food cooks and food prep workers will be directly affected by the raise because they currently make less than $11.50, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Retail Sales:  More than one-fourth of the 25,000 workers in sales occupations, including more than half of cashiers and retail salespersons, will also get a pay increase.
  • Personal Care Aides, Parking Lot Attendants: More than 35 percent of the 11,330 people who work in personal care and service occupations, such as personal care aides and fitness trainers, will get a pay increase, as will three-fourths of parking lot attendants.

These findings show that the minimum wage increase will make a difference to many residents whose work is important to our economy and provides services that we all depend upon.

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[1] This reflects $11.50 in 2016 dollars, adjusted for inflation to equal current wages.

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