Women's gains in this area have been even more dramatic, falling from around 22% in the early 1980s to about 5% in 2013. The percentage for men during the same time went from about 10% to about 3%.
The largest segment of the workforce earning minimum wage or below is in food preparation and serving (21.7%) whose wages are often supplemented by tips. Other industries represented in the survey include service occupations, such as healthcare and protective services (11.3%), and sales and related occupations (6.1%).
A related report from the BLS includes other facts about minimum wage workers:
- Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the federal minimum wage or less.
- About 5 percent of Black workers, 4 percent of White workers and Hispanic or Latino workers, and 3 percent of Asian workers earned the federal minimum wage or less.
- Among hourly paid workers age 16 and older, about 10 percent of those without a high school diploma earned the federal minimum wage or less, compared with about 4 percent of those who had a high school diploma (with no college) and about 2 percent of college graduates.
Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.