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Opinions vary on Arizona minimum-wage increase

PHOENIX — Valley economists have opposing viewpoints on what effects raising Arizona’s minimum wage will have on employers.

The state’s minimum wage will go up 15 cents an hour starting Jan. 1 to $7.80 per hour. That’s an extra $1.20 for an eight-hour shift. Jim Rounds with Elliott D. Pollack and Company said the boost could have been pushed back a bit.

“The impact will be greater now to employers than it would have been during a stronger economic period,” he said.

The state’s jobless rate for September was 8.2 percent, down from 8.3 in August.

John Mathis with Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale said the 15 cent hourly boost will not bring a significant number of job losses and would affect mainly teens.

“The lowest paid where the unemployment is the highest in the 16-19 year old range,” he said.

Dennis Hoffman with Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business said, “This will not crater the economy but I think you could find employers passing the wage boost along to customers with higher prices.”