Occupations Impacted by a $15 Minimum Wage

October 8, 2015
Contact: Ken Pokalsky

In 2013, when the legislature adopted a three-step increase to New York State’s minimum wage, its initial increase - from $7.25 to $8 per hour – impacted relatively few positions. Federal data showed that less than 200,000 out of nearly 8 million employees in New York State were earning the $7.25 minimum wage.

A $15 per hour minimum wage would have a far broader impact. Its total cost, when fully implemented, has been estimated by the Cuomo administration to be as high as $15.7 billion.

Based on current federal data on private sector jobs in New York State, 153 out of 785 occupation categories, with a total 3,065,200 jobs, have median wages under $15, meaning that this proposal would directly impact almost 20 percent of all jobs in New York State.  Another 145 occupations, with 1.6 million employees, have median wages between $15 and $20, which will also see wage pressures from a $15 minimum wage.

What jobs and sectors would be impacted most? The following chart shows the ten largest occupations in New York State with a median hourly wage under $15, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics data for May 2014. It shows total employment by occupation and the median and hourly wage for private sector employees in New York State.

Occupation NYS Employment Median Hourly Wage Mean Hourly Wage
Retail Salespersons 310,540 10.32 12.75
Office Clerks General 207,560 14.11 14.93
Janitors and Cleaners (Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners) 194,820 14.30 14.74
Cashiers 191,470 9.16 10.21
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers Including Fast Food 157,570 8.94 9.75
Waiters and Waitresses 151,270 9.28 12.16
Home Health Aides                         146,550 10.37 10.75
Personal Care Aides 142,220 10.98 11.73
Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 122,360 10.51 12.11
Laborers and Freight Stock and Material Movers Hand(537062) 98,770 12.42 14.35
10 Occupation Total 1,723,130    
Total NYS Employment 8,769,150