Dozens of economists are supporting an effort to raise the federal minimum wage.
In a letter to President Obama and key U.S. lawmakers, 75 economists said they support a plan to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by 2016.
"The vast majority of employees who would benefit are adults in working families, disproportionately women, who work at least 20 hours a week and depend on these earnings to make ends meet," the letter said. "At a time when persistent high unemployment is putting enormous downward pressure on wages, such a minimum-wage increase would provide a much-needed boost to the earnings of low-wage workers."
The letter, released by the Economic Policy Institute, was signed by leading economists from across the United States, including seven Nobel laureates. UCLA economist Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda was among those endorsing the proposal.
A Democratic-backed proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 is stalled in Congress. Last year, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that will raise California's minimum wage to $10 by 2016.
The economists said raising the federal minimum wage would improve the economy, as millions of workers spend their fattened paychecks.
"This policy would directly provide higher wages for close to 17 million workers by 2016," the letter said. "Furthermore, another 11 million workers whose wages are just above the new minimum would likely see a wage increase through 'spillover' effects, as employers adjust their internal wage ladders."