How Much More Expensive Life Has Gotten Since We Last Raised The Minimum Wage, 5 Years Ago Today

CHARTS: How Much More Expensive Life Has Gotten Since We Last Raised The Min. Wage

Unhappy fifth anniversary.

Thursday marks five years since the date of the last time Congress raised the federal minimum wage to a paltry $7.25 an hour. Since that time, the minimum wage has stayed flat, while the cost of living has marched steadily higher.

The Labor Department's Consumer Price Index has gained nearly 9 percent during that time, excluding volatile food and energy prices. In some cases, food and energy prices have jumped even more: Beef and gasoline, for example, are up 40 and 45 percent, respectively, since July 2009.

The average hourly earnings of private-sector employees have risen by roughly 10 percent during that time, just barely keeping up with inflation. But many low-wage Americans have missed out on even that modest raise: Roughly 1.5 million Americans made the federal minimum wage in 2013, according to the Labor Department, and many made only slightly more.

Here's a look at the price increases of a sample of different goods and services, compared to the minimum wage's flatline:

Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post.

A full-time, minimum wage employee will only make $15,080 per year. To put that in perspective, the federal poverty line for a family of four is $23,850.

It's no wonder that labor advocates refer

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