WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez released the following statement on the five-year anniversary of the last increase in the federal minimum wage:
"It's been exactly five years since workers at the bottom of the income ladder have gotten a raise. Since then, the cost of a gallon of milk, a week of child care, a month's rent and everything else a working family needs has gone up. But the federal minimum wage remains frozen at $7.25 per hour.
"President Obama believes five years is far too long, and a clear majority of Americans agree. Too many people are working harder but falling further behind, and it's just plain wrong that men and women working full-time in America should have to raise their families in poverty.
"A minimum wage increase to $10.10 would benefit 28 million people, giving them a little bit of breathing room and peace of mind. And it would help their bosses as well. As I've traveled around the country, employers of all sizes and in varied sectors have told me they see higher wages as a sound business investment. They know that it boosts productivity and reduces training costs. They know that, in an economy driven by consumer demand, more money in people's pockets means more customers for them. This isn't just anecdotal — a recent poll shows that more than 3-in-5 small business owners support a $10.10 minimum wage.
"Thirteen states and the District of Columbia, responding to grass-roots energy in their communities, have increased their minimum wages since the beginning of 2013. And the president has signed an Executive Order mandating a $10.10 minimum wage for workers under federal service contracts. But still, Congress has failed to act on behalf of all workers.
"This step is long overdue. Our workers need it and they've earned it. After five years, it's time to reward hard work and raise the wage."