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Expand chart
Reproduced from: Economic Policy Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

American low-wage workers increased their earnings significantly in 2019, seeing higher wage growth than workers at the higher end of the income spectrum. And that growth was largely fueled by increases in state minimum wages, a new study from the Economic Policy Institute shows.

Details: The left-leaning think tank's report finds that low-wage workers in the 23 states (plus Washington, D.C.) that raised their minimum wage last year saw "much faster wage growth than low-wage workers in states that did not increase their minimum wage between 2018 and 2019."

  • Workers in the 10th percentile, or the lowest 10% of wage earners in the country, had significantly different levels of income growth depending on where they lived, the report found.
  • Workers in states with increased minimum wages saw their earnings grow by more than four times what those in states without the minimum wage increase did.
  • For a full-time worker, the difference adds up to about $2,500 a year.

By the numbers: Improving labor market conditions occurred in both states that did and did not raise their minimum wages, but the report found slightly faster growth (+0.4 percentage points) in states with increases than in states without (+0.3 percentage points).

  • "While far from a comprehensive analysis," EPI senior economist Elise Gould notes, "there doesn’t appear to be any negative economic effect from raising the minimum wage."

Between the lines: Wages rose more quickly for workers in states with no minimum wage increases at higher income levels.

  • "This belies any claims that strong wage growth at the 10th percentile is simply due to stronger overall wage growth in those states and that 10th-percentile wages in those states would have risen with or without the minimum wage increases," Gould says in the report.

Go deeper: Job loss predictions over rising minimum wages haven't come true

Go deeper

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

1 hour ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

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