Recently I read that if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since the 60's that it would be over $10 today. I think it was on The Big Picture that I saw this but I can't remember for sure. Anyway theres been talk about raising the minimum wage lately so I thought it would be interesting to check this out and see how the minimum wage rate has looked over time if adjusted for todays dollars.
I got the data from History of minimum wage from DoL and Historical CPU data at the BLS. I used the annual average CPI where available and then just the October 2013 figure for 2013 since they didn't have a 2013 annual average.
Here's the result :
The peak figure was $10.74 in real dollars for 1968. Minimum was just $1.60 in 1968 but in todays dollars thats $10.74. The low was $3.98 in real 2013 dollars from 1944 when the minimum was just 30¢.
I think it would also be pretty meaningful to find out what % of the working population made minimum wage or less but I don't know if I could find that data historically.