Minimum wage set to rise

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) - "It's never good timing to increase minimum wage during a recession," said Dan Marburger.

Dan Marburger is an economics professor at Arkansas State University.

He says to respond to a higher minimum wage, some employers tend to reduce hours or eliminate some of their part time positions, as well as cut hours to full timers.

"It's going to make it harder for the younger workers to get the part time jobs. Existing workers, especially young kids working summer jobs, or part time jobs, may find their hours reduced," said Marburger.

Brynn Johnson at Express Employment Professionals, says since last fall they've seen an increase in the number of job seekers come through these doors--and it hasn't slowed down yet.

"If there are lay offs now, we really don't feel that's going to be because of the increase in minimum rage, but rather you know just the way the economy is," said Johnson.

Johnson says the increase in minimum wage may actually help employers fill any vacant positions they do have open.  It could be especially welcome now, when millions find themselves strapped for cash.

"It might not be a glamorous opportunity but they're going to take it because they understand it's still putting money in your pocket.   $7.25 isn't that low," said Johnson.

While some people will fall victim to a loss of hours or even jobs, Marburger says he doesn't think it is nearly enough to cripple the economy.

"We're not going to see a plant shut down because of the minimum wage increase because most workers are already earning in excess of the minimum wage," said Marburger.

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