Connecticut is making national news with legislation boosting the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour beginning in 2017. With Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s
planned signature on the bill Thursday evening, the Nutmeg State becomes the first in the nation to agree to eventually knock through the $10 mark for the lowest-paid workers.
But adjusted for inflation, we’ve topped $10.10 before – albeit not for several decades. As the chart below shows, the hourly minimum wage, in 2014 dollars, exceeded $10.10 in 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972 and 1978. The top rate was in 1968, when the inflation-adjusted minimum was $10.78.
The $10.10 wage is, however, significantly higher than the average inflation-adjusted minimum wage over the last 63 years. Since 1951, the lowest-paid workers have earned an average of $8.39 in today’s dollars.
So $10.10 isn’t the most Connecticut employers have been required to pay, and it certainly isn’t the least. And that alone will assure the topic remains controversial and politically divisive.