What minimum wage buys, then and now

I read an article about what minimum wage bought in 1950, 1960, 1970, etc. It was interesting to see how the cost of things has changed over the last few decades and I even remember some of those prices.

The article got me thinking about how the Great Recession is supposed to be over but is it really?

Are wages where you work going up or staying flat for another year? What about bonuses? When did salary ranges last increase at your organization?

In case you'd like to review the article:


It's a short slide show with a page/pic for each decade.


PS: Where did you work when minimum wage was $1.60 an hour? How about when it was $3.80 an hour?



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  • Our wages are going up about 2% this year. And as for our bonuses, we never know until we see at year-end how we did for the year. Last year bonuses either stayed the same or went down slightly from the year before.

    As far as where I was working when minimum wage was $1.60 and $3.80, it's pretty easy to pin down for me, because I have only worked for two companies in my life. On my first job in 1973 I made $2.88/hour and when I started here in 1982 I made $5.76/hour.

    The part that floors me is that I was able to survive on what I made at my first job. With the approximately $400 I brought home per month I was able to pay my rent, utilities, phone, babysitter, and groceries. And was still able to eat lunch out once or twice a week and occasionally go out somewhere like a movie. Hard to believe.
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