# History of Minimum Wage

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```					                                                                             Ms. Lockwood/Algebra 1
Student Project Background and Requirements
Due Date: Monday, Dec. 3
History of Minimum Wage

Have you heard of the minimum wage before? If you or an older brother or sister have a job, you most
certainly have. The minimum wage is the amount of money per hour that employers are required by
federal law to pay employees. Minimum wage laws were first enacted in 1938 after President Franklin
D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act. The first minimum wage began at \$0.25 per hour
and banned child labor. Over the years, to keep up with inflation, minimum wage has been gradually
increased. In this lesson, we will investigate the history of minimum wage, looking at the increases
since that first minimum wage law in 1938. In order to get a good sense of the rate of minimum wage
increase over the years, we will create a chart that displays the data. We'll begin by researching the
minimum wage rate increases. Then we'll chart our data in an (x,y) scatter plot and analyze the data.

Some sites we’ll visit:
http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm
http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth484/minwage.html
http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/posters/flsa.htm

Procedure:

1. Create a neat, accurate (x,y) scatter plot displaying your data. Include a title and all necessary
labels. Use two different colors for both the Actual and Adjusted data, incorporating the sets on
one graph. (10 points)

2. Draw a best-fit line along the data for the Actual minimum wage. Approximate a linear
equation for the best-fit line. (10 points)

3. Find the rate of change between 1938 and 2007 for the Actual minimum wage. (Hint: note the
slope of the best-fit line.) (10 points)

4. Using the Adjusted data, find the rate of change between 1938 and 1968 (when the Adjusted
amount peaked). Then, find the rate of change between 1968 and 2007. How do these two
rates differ? Be specific. Would it be logical to find the best-fit line for this data set? Why or
why not? (10 points)

5. Write an analysis of your graph in typed, paragraph form. Consider the things you’ve learned
about minimum wage with respect to your data. (10 points)

6. Include at least one related picture or computer graphic on your graph. Incorporate it in a
visually appealing way. (Make your graph look nice!) (10 points)
Ms. Lockwood/Algebra 1
Student Project Background and Requirements
Due Date: Monday, Dec. 3

Minimum Wage (Actual and Adjusted 2007)
Year     Actual     Adjusted                    Year     Actual     Adjusted
1938     \$0.25      \$3.70                       1973     \$1.60      \$7.53
1939     \$0.30      \$4.51                       1974     \$2.00      \$8.48
1940     \$0.30      \$4.48                       1975     \$2.10      \$8.16
1941     \$0.30      \$4.26                       1976     \$2.30      \$8.45
1942     \$0.30      \$3.85                       1977     \$2.30      \$7.93
1943     \$0.30      \$3.62                       1978     \$2.65      \$8.49
1944     \$0.30      \$3.56                       1979     \$2.90      \$8.35
1945     \$0.40      \$4.64                       1980     \$3.10      \$7.86
1946     \$0.40      \$4.29                       1981     \$3.35      \$7.70
1947     \$0.40      \$3.75                       1982     \$3.35      \$7.25
1948     \$0.40      \$3.47                       1983     \$3.35      \$7.03
1949     \$0.40      \$3.51                       1984     \$3.35      \$6.74
1950     \$0.75      \$6.50                       1985     \$3.35      \$6.50
1951     \$0.75      \$6.03                       1986     \$3.35      \$6.39
1952     \$0.75      \$5.91                       1987     \$3.35      \$6.16
1953     \$0.75      \$5.87                       1988     \$3.35      \$5.92
1954     \$0.75      \$5.83                       1989     \$3.35      \$5.64
1955     \$0.75      \$5.85                       1990     \$3.35      \$5.36
1956     \$1.00      \$7.68                       1991     \$4.25      \$6.52
1957     \$1.00      \$7.44                       1992     \$4.25      \$6.33
1958     \$1.00      \$7.23                       1993     \$4.25      \$6.15
1959     \$1.00      \$7.18                       1994     \$4.25      \$5.99
1960     \$1.00      \$7.06                       1995     \$4.25      \$5.83
1961     \$1.15      \$8.04                       1996     \$4.75      \$6.33
1962     \$1.15      \$7.96                       1997     \$5.15      \$6.70
1963     \$1.25      \$8.53                       1998     \$5.15      \$6.60
1964     \$1.25      \$8.42                       1999     \$5.15      \$6.46
1965     \$1.25      \$8.29                       2000     \$5.15      \$6.25
1966     \$1.25      \$8.06                       2001     \$5.15      \$6.08
1967     \$1.40      \$8.76                       2002     \$5.15      \$5.98
1968     \$1.60      \$9.61                       2003     \$5.15      \$5.85
1969     \$1.60      \$9.11                       2004     \$5.15      \$5.70
1970     \$1.60      \$8.62                       2005     \$5.15      \$5.51
1971     \$1.60      \$8.25                       2006     \$5.15      \$5.34
1972     \$1.60      \$8.00                       2007     \$5.85      \$5.85

Sources:
Federal Hourly Minimum Wage History (http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/blminwage.htm)
CPI Inflation Calculator (http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl)
Related Facts & Interesting Things to Know:

What is inflation? Prices increase over time. Inflation is an
average figure of how much prices increase each year. Inflation was
very high in the 70s and early 80s

Note the saw tooth effect in the adjusted line. Spikes up when they
raise the minimum wage and gradually goes down due to inflation until
the next increase.

Note how quickly the saw tooth descends in the 70s and 80s due to the
high inflation. Compare that with the slow decline in the 50s.

Note that the adjusted wage peaked around 1967 or 1968. Getting paid
\$1/hour back then was a lot better than getting paid \$5/hour now.

Note that even with all the increases in the minimum wage in the
1970s, it couldn't keep up with the high inflation of that time.

```
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