Happy Labor Day from the GoCertify Team

Seattle, Wash., at twilight.

Salutations from all of us at GoCertify. It's a regular ol' Monday for most of the world. Here in the United States, however, where GoCertify HQ is located, a great many people are kicking back and taking it easy in honor of the, um, hard work, ingenuity and diligence of the legions of honest laborers whose energetic zeal built America from the ground up.

To honor that legacy, we've borrowed a short quiz from our friends at Certification Magazine. Perhaps the most contentious issue in U.S. labor relations is the ongoing dispute over wages and wage growth. How much do you know about the history of wage laws in the United States? Let's find out!

1) When was the current federally-mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour established in the United States?

2) As of January 2018, how many U.S. states have a minimum wage higher than the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

3) Which five states have no state-mandated minimum wage?

4) Which state has the highest state-mandated minimum wage?

5) Which U.S. city or region has the highest legally-mandated minimum wage?

6) Which gerund-averse American songwriter channeled the wage-related angst of a generation when he penned the immortal lyric, "I'm takin' what they're givin' cause I'm workin' for a livin'"?

7) Which U.S. company has a minimum wage for all U.S. employees, including part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees, of $15 per hour?

8) How much did workers earn under the first uniformly-applied minimum wage in the United States?

9) Which U.S. city was found to have the highest "Living wage to cover basic needs," as calculated by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2017?

10) Which U.S. state passed the first minimum wage law?


1) The $7.25 minimum wage was signed into law on July 24, 2009.

2) There are 29 states, as of January 2018, where the minimum wage is higher than the federally mandated minimum.

3) Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee do not have state laws that mandate a minimum wage. In these states, the federal minimum wage is the default standard.

4) Three-way tie: California, Massachusetts, and Washington all have state laws setting the minimum wage at $12 per hour. Oregon mandated a $12.50 per hour wage in the Portland metro area, but has a lower standard for both rural ($11 per hour) and non-rural ($11.25 per hour) counties.

5) Seattle, in Washington, currently has a city-wide minimum wage of $16 per hour for all businesses with 500 or more employees.

Garth Brooks and Huey Lewis recorded a duet together.

6) Huey Lewis. Lewis' original version of the song "Workin' for a Livin'" peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard chart. Lewis, who later recorded "Workin' for a Livin'" as a duet with Garth Brooks, said he was inspired to write the song while working as a truck driver.

7) Amazon. The online retailer put the wage increase into effect as of Nov. 1, 2018.

8) $0.25 per hour. This penurious rate was established by the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938.

9) San Francisco. In a study of select U.S. cities, the MIT researchers found that the minimum wage for a single earner needed to provide "food, childcare, medical care, housing, transportation, and other basic necessities" for a family of two adults and two children in The City by the Bay is $23.79 per hour.

10) Massachusetts. Partly responding to upheaval caused by the Lawrence textile strike, state legislators passed a law recommending (but not requiring) minimum wages for women and children in 1912.

Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

GoCertify's mission is to help both students and working professionals get IT certifications. GoCertify was founded in 1998 by Anne Martinez.