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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho has nation’s 9th-highest rate of workers earning minimum wage or less

Idaho, which not long ago ranked first in the nation for the percentage of its workers earning minimum wage or less, ranked 9th in 2015, the same ranking it held in 2014. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15,000 of Idaho’s 458,000 hourly wage workers earned exactly $7.25 an hour in 2015, while another 6,000 earned less; that puts Idaho at 4.6 percent earning minimum wage or lower, compared to a national average of 3.3 percent. Among those low-wage Idaho workers, 13,000, or 62 percent, were women.

In 2013, Idaho ranked second in the nation for its percentage of minimum-wage workers, behind only Tennessee; in 2012, Idaho was No. 1, with 7.7 percent earning minimum wage or less. Back in 2003, just 3 percent of Idaho’s workers earned the minimum wage or less.

In the 2015 report, which is online here, Louisiana had the highest percentage of low-wage workers, at 6.4 percent. The lowest was Oregon, at 0.7 percent.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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