BOISE -- New Department of Labor statistics show Idaho has the nation's highest percentage of workers earning the minimum wage or less.
The agency reported Thursday that the share of Gem State employees making $7.25 per hour jumped to 7.7 percent last year. That means an estimated 31,000 of the state's 404,000 hourly workers were paid at the minimum rate -- up from 12,000 in 2011.
Nationally, 4.7 percent of hourly workers made the minimum wage last year, down from 5.2 percent the year before.
The Labor Department reports that three of every four jobs created in Idaho came from the service sector, where most of those lower-paying jobs are held.
Idaho was also among 16 states and the District of Columbia that posted increases in workers earning the minimum or less.