You may increasingly need a college degree to get a job, but there’s no guarantee that job will pay decent wages.
Here’s a breakdown of all workers who earn at or below the minimum wage, sorted by educational attainment, from a recent Labor Department release:
Altogether, 7.9 percent of workers earning at or below the minimum wage have at least a bachelor’s degree. That said, only a very small share of college graduates overall actually wind up in minimum wage jobs. Of all bachelor’s degree holders who are paid at hourly rates (that is, excluding salaried workers), just 1.9 percent earned at or below the minimum wage.
The share of workers overall who make at or below the minimum wage has declined in the last few decades, likely at least in part because the value of the minimum wage has fallen in inflation-adjusted terms.
While minimum-wage workers are often stereotyped as being pimply teenagers working part-time to collect a little pocket money, actually about half of minimum wage workers are at least 25 years old, and about a third of minimum wage workers typically log at least 35 hours a week.