Workers in New Jersey earning the minimum wage will see their hourly income go up by 13 cents on Thursday to $8.38.
That’s a 1.59 percent increase over last year’s rate, which increased to $8.25 from $7.25 after a 2013 voter ballot initiative. The rate is set to rise each year in tandem with the consumer price index.
Liberal think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective says the hike will benefit 176,000 workers in the state and add nearly $35 million to the economy, but business interest groups say the wage hike has resulted in a hiring freeze.
New Jersey’s unemployment dropped to a six-year low in December, to 6.4 percent. Still, New Jersey’s rate is higher than most states’. In particular, construction and leisure and hospitality industries have seen a decline.