How has the US minimum wage changed, in comparison to the GDP?

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about changing the federal minimum wage in America. I wanted to take a quick look at how it has changed, over time. The minimum wage was instituted in 1938, so I looked at it from it’s inception to 2012. I wanted to compare it to the size of the economy, so I compared it to the US gross domestic product.

US GDP vs US Minimum Wage, % change since 1938


In order to best visualize the change, over time, I calculated the percent change in each value since 1938.  It looks like the two values increased by roughly the same amount until 1950 and then dramatically diverged.  I am not sure what value can be taken from this comparison, but it is interesting.

Raw data used for the analysis

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