Press ReleaseMay 2, 2019

Weekly Pulse Polling: 77 Percent of Americans Worked at the Minimum Wage at Some Point in Their Life

74 percent of those were teens when they made the starting wage.

Washington, D.C. (May 2, 2019) – With 17 of the 21 Democratic Candidates for President signing on to the idea of more than doubling the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, it’s useful to see how Americans have experienced the minimum wage. According to this week’s Job Creators Network/ Weekly Pulse a vast majority (77 percent) of Americans worked for the minimum wage at some point and 74 percent of those were under the age of 19 when they had a minimum wage job—with only 11 percent being over the age of 24.

50 percent of those who worked at the minimum wage said they received a raise within a year of starting the job, with another 30 percent saying their raise took longer than a year. Only 3 percent of those surveyed said they still were making the minimum wage.

Several proposals in Congress and in state legislatures would also eliminate the tip credit, which allows employers to pay less than the minimum wage for tipped positions like servers, as long as the employee makes more than the minimum wage with tips. If restaurant owners are required to pay $15 per hour for each tipped employee, their labor costs would skyrocket. The Weekly Pulse revealed that 20 percent of American’s have had a job where the majority of their income came from tips, and only 29 percent of American’s think that servers will make more money by eliminating the tip credit and the concept of tipping.

“Politicians in favor of the $15 minimum wage claim that people are ‘stuck’ at the minimum wage.” said Elaine Parker, President of the Job Creators Network Foundation. “This polling clearly shows that the vast majority of people utilize minimum wage positions for income in their teenage years—not as full-time careers.”

Other poll questions in the Weekly Pulse show that people are confident in the economy with 35 percent of adults now believing the economy is getting better while just 23 percent say it is getting worse. By a 31 percent to 14 percent margin, Americans also believe their own finances are getting better rather than worse.

“There are definite signs that economic optimism may be growing,” said pollster Scott Rasmussen. “Thirty-five percent (35%) of adults now believe the economy is getting better while just 23% say it is getting worse. That 12-point margin reflects the most positive net rating since November.”

Other polling questions this week included:

How would you rate the US economy today? Excellent (13%), Good (39%), Fair (32%), Poor (14%), Not sure (2%).

Is the economy getting better or worse? Better (35%), Worse (23%), About the same (37%), Not sure (6%).

Okay, how would you rate your own personal finances these days?  Excellent (12%), Good (39%), Fair (32%), Poor (15%), Not sure (2%).

Are your personal finances getting better or worse? Better (31%), Worse (14%), About the same (52%), Not sure (3%).

Are companies in your area more likely to be hiring new workers or laying off existing workers? Hiring new workers (43%), Laying off existing workers (16%), Not sure (40%).

For historic data on these economic questions visit:

Download full crosstabs on all this week’s questions:

This poll of 1,100 US adults was conducted April 22-23, 2019. For more information about the Job Creators Network, please visit