September 2003, Vol. 126, No. 9
Proportions of workers in selected pay ranges, by region and State
Economist, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Differences among States in the share of workers earning the Federal minimum wage or less are a function of the occupational distribution and prevailing wages in each State, as well as of the existence of a wide range of minimum wage provisions at the State level. In particular, some States set minimum wage rates above the Federal minimum, currently $5.15 an hour.
In 2002, 3.0 percent of U.S. wage and salary workers who were paid hourly rates earned the Federal minimum wage of $5.15 or less. The South recorded the highest percentage of workers earning in this range, 3.7 percent, while the West registered the lowest share, 1.8 percent. Among the nine geographic divisions, the West South Central reported the largest percentage, 4.3 percent, whereas the Pacific division had the smallest, 1.0 percent.
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