A move by President Obama to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour is partly an act of symbolism and political tactics, but it promises to have a practical impact on the lives of as many as half a million US workers. [...]
By one estimate, 560,000 Americans currently earn $12 or less per hour and are employed by contractors to the federal government. That’s a small but not insignificant slice of the nation’s total low-wage work force.
Many of those 560,000 people work for less than $10.10 an hour, according to research by the liberal group Demos. Food service workers at federal buildings, for example, get $9.49 on average. And even those who earn an $11- or $12-an-hour wage could see some boost as employers adjust low-end pay scales in response to Mr. Obama’s action.
The pay rise won’t happen immediately. The executive order applies only as federal contracts come up for renewal.