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Should The Minimum Wage Be Raised In New Jersey?

A new study finds more than 400 thousand low-paid workers in the Garden State would benefit from a ballot measure that would raise New Jersey’s minimum wage by one dollar, to $8.25 per hour.

Government Coalition Debates Minimum Wage
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

The report, released today by New Jersey Policy Perspective, finds this kind of increase would generate more than $174 million in new economic growth and support the creation of the equivalent of over 1500 new full-time jobs as businesses expand to meet increased consumer demand.

“Low-wage jobs are stunting New Jersey’s economic recovery at a time when the state needs more consumer spending and growth, and raising the minimum wage is a smart way to boost consumer spending while delivering much-needed assistance to working families in New Jersey,” said the President of New Jersey Policy Perspective, Gordon Macinnes.

According to the report, which uses U.S. Census Bureau data, adults working full-time jobs represent the vast majority of workers who will benefit from the minimum wage increase: 83 percent of workers who’d be affected are adults over the age of 20, 77 percent work more than 20 hours per week and 38 percent have at least some college education.

The report shows many of the state’s lowest-paid workers rely on minimum wage jobs to support their families.

At $7.25 per hour, New Jersey’s current minimum wage is tied with the federal level and has not increased in nearly four years. Nineteen states across the U.S. have already raised their minimum wage above $7.25 per hour, and earlier this year New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a measure that will raise New York’s minimum wage to $9.00 per hour.

Business groups in the Garden State have voiced concerns that raising the minimum wage could hurt small businesses, in what is still a fragile economy.

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