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One-third of Nevada workers aren’t paid $15 per hour


by April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current

More than a third of all Nevada workers are making less than $15 per hour, according to a new report by Oxfam America. The vast majority of these workers are adults, many of them are parents with children to support.

The analysis, which uses U.S. Census Bureau data and advocates for raising the federal minimum wage, found that 577,255 workers in Nevada are earning less than $15 per hour in 2022. That’s 37% of the workforce.

Twelve states had a higher percentage of its workers earning less than $15 per hour. They were: Michigan, Idaho, Oklahoma and Louisiana (38%); Montana (39%); Texas and Alabama (40%); Arkansas (41%); Florida and South Carolina (42%); New Mexico (44%) and Mississippi (45%). Puerto Rico had the highest percentage of workers making a low wage: 76%.

On the other end of the spectrum, Washington state had the smallest percentage of low-wage workers at 14%. As of Jan. 1, the minimum wage in Washington is $14.49 per hour. California had the second lowest percentage in the nation at 18%. There, the minimum wage is set at $15 for any employee working for a company with more than 26 employees.

Earning $15 an hour is the equivalent of $31,200 annually, if you assume the worker is scheduled 40 full hours a week for the entire year (which isn’t true for many low-wage workers). That is below what anyone needs to maintain a “modest yet adequate standard of living” in Nevada, according to a separate analysis done recently by the Economic Policy Institute.

Nevada’s minimum wage is currently $8.75 per hour for employees offered qualifying health insurance and $9.75 per hour for employees who aren’t. It will rise to $9.50 and $10.50 per hour on July 1.

According to Oxfam, more women in Nevada are currently working in low-wage jobs than men. Nearly half — 46% — of working women across the state are earning less than $15. Just under a third — 30% — of working men are. Both percentages are higher than the national averages for women (40%) and men (25%).

Even greater disparities exist when the wage data is further broken down by race, ethnicity and gender.

In Nevada, here’s who is making less than $15 per hour:

  • 25% of white workers
  • 34% of Asian American and American Indian workers
  • 50% of Black workers
  • 55% of Hispanic/Latinx workers

Altogether that means 60% of women of color and 40% of men of color of are making less than $15 per hour.

Oxfam also looked at family composition data and found that 58% of single parents in Nevada and 48% of working mothers are earning below $15 per hour.

The complete report can be found online here.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: [email protected]. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

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