6 Ways A $12 Minimum Wage Would Help The Economy

July 30, 2013 | | Huffington Post |

After the D.C. Council approved a bill that requires large retailers to pay their workers a "living wage" of $12.50 -- and Walmart retreated from the capital in protest -- we thought it'd be worth considering what that requirement could do for the economy.

A report from non-partisan public policy center Demos released in 2012 looked into the effect of large retailers raising wages to pay the equivalent of $25,000 per year, or $12.25 per hour, for full-time, year-round workers. The study revealed that the wage hike could benefit not only workers, but also retailers and the economy at large.

Walmart, for its part, disputes the findings of Demos's reports, and the company questioned its validity in an email to The Huffington Post.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  1. More than 700,000 American workers would be lifted out of poverty

More than 1 million retail workers and their family members live in or close to poverty. By raising the minimum wage of full-time workers to the equivalent of $12.25 per hour, 734,075 people would be lifted out of poverty and an additional 769,191 people living near the poverty line would see their incomes rise to more than 150 percent above the poverty line.

  1. GDP would rise by as much as $15.2 billion

A wage increase to $12.25 an hour would impact more than 5 million workers and their families. As these families have access to more money, they will spend more, translating to as much as $15.2 billion in new economic activity, according to Demos.