The portion of West Virginia workers being paid at or below the federal minimum wage peaked at 40,000 in 2010 after hitting a low of 14,000 in 2006. The bureau first made such data available in 2000. The percentage of state workers earning minimum wage had exceeded those making below the minimum in 2010 and 2011 before it evened out in 2012.
The bureau noted that West Virginia workers earning wages below the federal minimum does not necessarily indicate violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act because of exemptions to the minimum wage provisions of the law.
The state's minimum wage has been set at $7.25 an hour since July 2008. It was raised to $6.55 per hour in July 2007, $5.85 per hour in July 2006, and $5.15 per hour in September 1998.
The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009, also to $7.25. The proportion of U.S. hourly workers earning that or less was 4.7 percent.