New Report: More than One in Five Louisville Workers Would Benefit from Proposed Minimum Wage Increase

By Jason Bailey
September 23, 2014

The increase in the minimum wage under consideration by the Louisville Metro Council would benefit an estimated 22 percent of those who work in Louisville/Jefferson County, as shown in a new Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP) research brief analyzing U.S. Census data. 62,500 workers who make less than $10.10 would be affected directly, and another 24,800 indirectly once wage scales were adjusted upward.

Contrary to stereotypes, workers who would benefit from the increase are overwhelmingly adults. Ninety-two percent are at least 20 years of age, and there are more workers over the age of 50 who would benefit than there are teenagers. Fifty-three percent of those benefitting are women, and 77 percent of workers whose family income is below the poverty line would get a raise from the increase.

Those workers who stand to gain work most commonly in restaurants and food services, retail stores and health services. Sixty-three percent work full time with the remainder working part time, and impacted workers have a range of education levels. Among those to benefit are an estimated 3,300 veterans.

“The proposed increase would give a much-needed boost to many thousands of low-wage workers whose incomes have been stagnant or declining and are inadequate to provide a decent standard of living,” said Jason Bailey, director of the KCEP and author of the report. “And the increase is supported by an extensive body of research suggesting little to no harm to employment.”

KCEP’s brief is based on analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey drawing on methods developed by the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California Berkeley and the Economic Policy Institute. It is the first report that examines the impact on workers whose place of work is Louisville/Jefferson County and provides estimates for 2017, when the ordinance will be fully implemented. A previous estimate by Oxfam that 61,000 total workers in Louisville would benefit from a national increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour uses similar methodology, but refers only to those who live in the 3rd Congressional District and provides estimates for 2012, among other differences.

The report can be found here: “More than One in Five Louisville Workers Would Benefit from Proposed Minimum Wage Increase.”