Thursday, April 21, 2016

Raising New Jersey’s Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour Would Boost a Large and Diverse Group of Working Men and Women

People who are working full-time in New Jersey should be able to afford a decent place to live.

They should be able to buy food without having to rely on government safety net programs or private charity. And they should be able to afford clothes for themselves and their family.

But today, with the minimum wage at $8.38 an hour, that's just not the case.

As New Jersey policymakers consider raising the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour, a new NJPP report details just who would benefit from such a boost - and it's not who you might think.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021 would directly boost the pay of about 1 in 4 Garden State workers, or 975,000 men and women.

The wage increase would help a diverse group of workers who currently aren't paid enough to make ends meet, improving their chances of getting by - and, often, providing for their families - in high-cost New Jersey.

The report's top findings:

  • Nearly all workers who would benefit are adults: 91% of the affected workers are adults 20 years old or older. Just 9% are teenagers.
  • Most workers who would benefit are working full time: 61% of the affected workers work 35 hours a week or more; an additional 27% work between 20 and 34 hours a week. Only 12% are working part time jobs at less than 20 hours a week.
  • Many workers who would benefit are parents: 28% of the affected workers are parents, and more than 1 in 5 New Jersey children (21%) have at least one parent who would benefit.
Raising the minimum wage will not only boost these workers, it will help boost New Jersey's economy, since these working men and women will spend the increased wages immediately and locally on pressing needs.

That's why, hand in hand with partners across the state and inside the Statehouse, NJPP is working hard to ensure that more of New Jersey's working men and women can start to make ends meet and begin to climb the ladder into the middle class.

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