Minimum wage increases to $6.55

LUFKIN, TX(KTRE) - Thanks to the federal government, minimum wage employees everywhere are getting a raise.

"Good news for those below minimum wage," and good news for those getting a new job as well.

As part of a federally mandated three-part series, wages increase to $6.55 today, up from $5.85 an hour at last year's increase.

Something employee Tisha Waggoner says is great.

"When you have bills and you are not just spending your money, you don't have anything left. And with gas prices high, you don't get to go many places or do what you want to do, especially being 16."

Workforce Solutions Executive Director Charlene Meadows says most employers here won't be affected, which is a good thing.

"Currently the average entry level wage in Deep East Texas is $6.70 an hour, so that's still slightly ahead of this year's minimum wage. But of course there are occupations paying below that."

And some of those employers will feel the increase.

"It will depend on what industry it is, and how much of a margin they have. Some of them operate on a very thin profit margin."

But next time around, the wage increase may be a different story.

"Next year when it goes up to over $7.00 an hour, that's going to be a greater impact," says Meadows.

The Federal Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 mandates one more increase, following the two now in place.

So next year on this day, minimum wage will jump to $7.25 an hour.

But For Now Waggoner says, "I think it will definitely help, as much as it goes up.  Every penny counts."