Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage is worth less than 50 years ago

By:  Kate Rogers
CNBC

Nearly seven years after the federal minimum wage was raised to $7.25 an hour from $6.55, it has remained stagnant despite the increasingly heated debate over better pay and worker protections.

But that hasn't stopped Ken Weinstein from paying his workers more at his two restaurants in Pennsylvania, where the state minimum wage matches the federal floor.

Weinstein owns two Trolley Car Diners in Philadelphia, and decided two years ago to increase the minimum wage for his 75 employees to $8.50.

"It's a competitive thing — you certainly get better employees by paying them more," said Weinstein, who supports a $12 an hour federal minimum wage. "We have a stable workforce, and it's partly due to treating our employees well, and paying them more than our competitors."

Despite periodic increases, the buying power of the federal minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data show that in 1968, the federal minimum was equivalent to $10.90 in 2015 dollars, nearly $4 higher than today's rate.

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