The July 24 increase in the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour is a step in the right direction, but still leaves low-wage workers with some catching up to do. Even with this latest increase, workers making minimum wage today are earning about 18% less than in 1968, after adjusting for inflation. Another reality check: An individual earning $7.25 an hour in a standard 2,000-hour work year would earn $14,500 per year, which is still slightly below the 2009 federal poverty level of $14,570 for a family of two. -Andrea Orr
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See related work on Income and wages and Wages, Incomes, and Wealth