Study: Higher retail wages would lift Americans out of poverty, boost economy

November 21, 2012 | | Raw Story |

new study released by the progressive think tank Demos on Monday estimated that if retail workers were given a living wage, hundreds of thousands of Americans would be lifted out of poverty and the wage boost would significantly bolster the economy.

The study began by assuming a new “price floor” for retail workers at America’s largest retailers — amounting to a 27 percent pay raise for those workers. If companies that employed at least 1,000 workers paid them a living wage of just $25,000 for full-time, year-round work, more than 700,000 Americans would make their way out of poverty and an additional 700,000 would move up near poverty. In all, the wage boost would affect more than 5 million retail workers.

Demos further estimated that if these low-wage workers got a pay boost, the economy would grow and create 100,000 more new jobs, boosting the economy by somewhere between $11.8 and $15.2 billion over the next year.