Low-Wage Work

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Newsletter

The Labor Center conducts a wide range of research on low-wage work in California and nationally. Our research focuses on documenting and understanding working conditions in low-wage industries, especially for women, immigrants, and workers of color. We also analyze policies to raise labor standards at the local, state, and national levels.

For an in-depth description of California’s low-wage workforce, see our Data Explorer.

View our Inventory of US City and County Minimum Wage Ordinances.

You can also visit our Black Worker project.

Minimum wage, living wage, and other labor standards studies.

Research on the societal and fiscal costs of low-wage work.

In-depth studies of labor markets and working conditions in low-wage industries.

Independent contracting, gig work, and employee misclassification

Research & Publications

Inventory of US City and County Minimum Wage Ordinances

Across the country, cities and counties have become laboratories of policy innovation on labor standards. Before 2012, only five localities had minimum wage laws; currently, 56 counties and cities do. To help inform policymakers and other stakeholders, the UC Berkeley Labor Center is maintaining an up-to-date inventory of these laws, with details on wage levels, scheduled increases, and other law details, as well as links to the ordinances.

Press Coverage

Christian Science Monitor

Minimum wages rise: Here’s where the changes matter most

“Research finds that minimum wage laws do what they’re intended to do. They improve low-wage workers’ earnings, which has a full range of positive impacts, both on workers and on society,” says Ken Jacobs, who co-chairs the University of California, Berkeley’s Labor Center.

Program Contacts