Majority of working 15- to 17-year olds earn above minimum wage

August 23, 2000

Of the working 15-, 16-, and 17-year olds in 1998, a majority earned in excess of the minimum wage.

Percentage of working 15-17 year olds by wage, 1998
[Chart data—TXT]

In 1998, median earnings of 15- to 17-year-olds combined were $5.57 per hour. Earnings increased with age: 15-year-olds earned a median of $5.38 per hour, 16-year-olds earned $5.52, and 17-year-olds earned $5.65 per hour.

Even among 15-year-olds, 59 percent of young workers earned more than the 1998 minimum wage of $5.15. A quarter earned less than the minimum wage, as some occupations—including many food service jobs—are exempt from the minimum wage or may pay a training wage for a specified period. The proportion of employed youths that earned more than the minimum wage increased to 71 percent of 16-year olds and to three-quarters of those aged 17.

Data on how much youth earn are a product of the Current Population Survey program. Additional information is available from Chapter 4 of the Report on the Youth Labor Force.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Majority of working 15- to 17-year olds earn above minimum wage on the Internet at (visited January 23, 2018).


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