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Friday, July 24, 2009 - 9:46am

Federal Minimum Wage Hike Goes Into Effect

The federal minimum wage gets a boost today.

The new minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, an increase of 70 cents, or 11%. The increase is the last of three raises Congress supported in 2007 as part of the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

The move comes as the national unemployment rate sits at 9.5%, and Georgia's unemployment rate is 10.1%. Approximately 76,000 Georgians, or 1.6% of the workforce, receive at or below minimum wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

What impact the minimum wage hike will have on the economy is unknown. Opponents of the increase argue it will impede small business' ability to hire and retain employees, while minimum wage advocates counter it will help the working poor stay afloat and stimulate consumer spending.