The minimum wage is back in the news, and FRED can offer some insights. FRED includes data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics—specifically, in the Current Population Survey—that tally the number of workers who are paid the federal minimum wage. Note that some states, counties, and cities mandate minimum wages above the federal level and that some workers can be paid less (e.g., service workers who receive tips). The graph tracks the number of workers paid the federal minimum wage or less, which is affected by the minimum wage itself, how wages and labor productivity have changed since the last time the minimum wage was raised, how inflation has eroded the nominal minimum wage, and finally how other polities approach their own minimum wage with respect to the federal minimum.
What does the graph show? Currently, a little over a million workers are paid the federal minimum wage, and most of them are not employed full-time. Their numbers were much higher a few decades ago, but the federal and other minimum wages were not the same back then. A little less than a million workers are paid less than the federal minimum wage, a large majority of whom are employed full-time. FRED has these latter data series only as far back as 2000, so it is difficult to judge any trends in these numbers.
How this graph was created: Go to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics source, choose “Weekly and Hourly Earnings from the Current Population Survey,” then choose the “minimum wage” tag in the sidebar. Select the series you want and add them to the graph.
Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.