National Edition

IMF tells the U.S. to raise the minimum wage

Published: Sunday, June 22 2014 5:10 a.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, June 25 2014 9:33 a.m. MDT

In this Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, file photo, protesting fast food workers demonstrate outside a McDonald's restaurant on New York's Fifth Avenue, in New York.

Richard Drew, Associated Press

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The IMF released its annual review of the United States economy earlier this week and called on the U.S. to raise the federal minimum wage, which hasn't been raised since 2009 and currently stands at $7.25.

The wage totals $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week.

The report cut the U.S. growth forecast and called on policymakers to keep interest rates low and bump the minimum wage to spur growth and alleviate America's 15 percent poverty rate.

"Given its current low level (compared both to U.S. history and international standards), the minimum wage should be increased," the report said. "This would help raise incomes for millions of working poor and ensure a meaningful increase in after-tax earnings for the nation’s poorest households."

The IMF didn't say how much the wage should be increased. But if the wage had kept up with inflation, it would be $10.68, according to the National Employment Law Project. If wages had been raised to keep up with productivity, which has continued to climb, they would be $22 an hour, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research mentioned in the Huffington Post.

The IMF says that America is also behind by international standards. Low-wage workers make more in France and Australia, and the U.S. ranks toward the bottom for developed countries. The U.K. has raised its minimum wage to $10.88, while France's is $10.60 and Australia's is $10.20. Germany just raised its minimum wage to $11.75, effective next year.

President Barack Obama has proposed an increase to $10.10 an hour, and some states and cities are taking their own measures. Seattle recently raised its minimum wage to $15, the highest in the country.

There are 102,000 workers in Seattle making less than $15 an hour, and raising their wages will put $500 million more in spending money into those workers' pocketbooks, according to Thinkprogress.org.

The new law will pump nearly $500 million into the local economy, "proving that a higher minimum wage fuels business and job growth," said Seattle Union President David Rolf.

An industry group has filed suit to kill Seattle's minimum wage law, Thinkprogress.org reported.

Email: laneanderson@deseretnews.com

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