Fox Claims That Declining Minimum Wage Is “Growing Exponentially”

Fox Business correspondent Nicole Petallides criticized President Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour with an exaggerated claim that ignores the decades-long declining trend in the real value of the minimum wage.

Petallides misleadingly claimed on Fox & Friends that the minimum wage “really has grown exponentially” by citing increases since 2007 and that business owners say raising the minimum wage “would probably hurt business and raise unemployment”:

In fact, the minimum wage's purchasing power has seen decades of decline, and despite increases phased in from the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, is still below the value it had in the late 1960s. The New York Times reported that “the federal minimum wage has failed to keep pace with inflation in recent decades.” And Bloomberg explained that the value of the federal minimum wage dropped from 1967 through 2010 even as its “nominal figure climbed to $7.25 an hour.” The Bloomberg article included the below chart depicting the drop:

The Economic Policy Institute noted in its latest edition of The State of Working America that this decline in the value of the minimum wage meant that “low-wage workers, despite being older and better-educated than in the late 1960s, had a lower wage floor. The weakness of the minimum wage is more apparent when noting that in 2011 it was just 37 percent of the typical worker's hourly wage, while in the late 1960s it averaged about half the typical worker's hourly wage”

Additionally, contrary to Petallides' suggestion that it would lead to more job losses, economists have found that raising the minimum wage would not negatively affect employment.