Minimum wage varies across the country, with some states and cities winning for better pay for workers, but one thing seems true all over America: We rely on workers who make very little money to do a whole lot.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which amounts to about $15,080 annually for a full-time worker—which is why the Obama administration is pushing for a federal minimum wage boost to $10.10 with long-stalled legislation. Yet, across the country more workers say that is not enough to get by. A labor movement is gathering steam with a push for $15. Dubbed the "Fight for $15," it's calling for living wages, the right to unionize, and other workplace improvements.
“These are people that our society could not do without. They allow the rest of us to go to work,” said Irene Tung, senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.
That's why home care workers have joined the movement and recently launched a two-week series of demonstrations across the U.S. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the need for elderly care is only going to grow, yet home care workers are still being paid minimum wages, experts say. These meager salaries not only make it difficult for workers to live but creates a fast cycle of burnout and turnover.
Here’s a list of 15 indispensable jobs in the U.S. whose average wage is less than $15 per hour. All data comes from the most recent Occupational Employment Statistics available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.