Minimum Wage increases helps some workers, hurts some employers

By Sarah Seeley
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Workers across the country are getting an hourly raise tomorrow.

Tomorrow the final minimum wage increase takes effect for employees like Allison Ware.

Employees will receive a $0.70 raise as federal minimum wage increases from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour.

"I'm happy with it, I really am," said Ware.  "It's a lot more than what I was making."

Allison has worked for the Career and Counseling Services Center at West Texas A&M University for minimum wage for almost a year.

Starting tomorrow she will begin to see more than $20 extra a month.

"It's rent, it's bills, that's what it helps out," said Ware.  "I think that's what I'll put it towards."

An Amarillo economist NewsChannel 10 spoke to says the latest increase may not help as the economy suffers.

"Employers are already stretched at this point in time," said Cliff Bickerstaff, an Amarillo National Bank VP.  "I just don't see how it will have anything but a negative impact on most employers."

He worries the increase in wages will lead to a decrease in help.

"Our fear is that they are just going to cut back hours to compensate for the increased wage," said Bickerstaff.

We called around to many local businesses today and most say it wont affect them much.

"A lot of the employers, at least in Amarillo are already paying above minimum wage so it should have a minimum impact for that reason," said Bickerstaff.

Bickerstaff says employees who were already right at or more than minimum wage won't benefit and instead may feel like their wage value has decreased.