76,000 benefit from 50-cent wage hike

ST. PAUL (AP) — Some 76,000 Minnesotans got a raise Monday as the first increase in the federal minimum wage in more than five years took effect.
The minimum hourly wage rose from $4.25 to $4.75; a second increase of 40 cents will take effect next September.
Nearly 140,000 Minnesotans and 10 million Americans ultimately will receive raises as a result.
Although the competitive labor market has driven the hourly wages of most Minnesota workers above $4.25, many business owners said the raises may prompt broad wage and price increases and limit job growth.
Arnold Hewes, executive vice president of the Minnesota Restaurant, Hotel and Resort Associations, said some restaurants are going to raise their prices because of the change.
Although the increase is a step in the right direction, changes to the welfare system could offset those gains, said Kris Jacobs of Jobs Now, an advocacy group for low- and middle-income people.