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Trump’s blue collar boom is due to higher pay floors

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Trump touted a “blue collar boom,” noting that wages “are rising fastest for low-income workers.”

He’s correct, but Trump left out one thing: a large portion of those gains can be traced to minimum wage increases in more than half the states.

The median wage for the bottom fifth of workers has climbed much more sharply in states that have raised their pay floors than in states that haven’t, according to a study provided exclusively to USA TODAY by the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

During his presidential campaign, Trump at times advocated keeping the federal minimum at $7.25 an hour and other times said that was “too low.” In July, the Office of Management and Budget opposed a House-passed bill that would more than double the U.S. base wage to $15.

The administration’s “efforts to reduce taxes, eliminate regulations, and implement fair trade deals are driving economic growth and increasing workers’ take-home pay far more effectively and efficiently than legislation like” the house bill, the OMB said. .That measure did not come up for a vote in the Senate, where Republicans have opposed a minimum wage hike for years.

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