People who earn minimum wage will see a 40 cent increase starting today. It is the second part of a three step increase from the federal government. But, will it actually make a difference with the cost of living so high? Here in North Carolina, minimum wage went from $6.15 to $6.50 cents. Over the course of a year, that's an increase of about $1,000, before taxes. The increase will predominantly affect many service industry workers. With the average apartment rental in Wilmington costing about $600, this increase could mean a month's rent, and then some, but with the price of gas, food and utilities, it still means sticking to a strict budget. The good news is, a good number of local businesses here in Wilmington pay their employees more than minimum wage. For Andy's Cheese Steak employee, Michael Dixon, this small raise came at the right time. "Recently I've been coming up short on my bills, about $50, so that's going to help a lot. Also, seeing as gas is almost $5 a gallon, and I live all the way up by North Chase, on the other side of town, so that's just about $10 to get here and back," said Dixon. The raise may come at a good time for workers, but business owners, who are suffering from the declining economy, will have to shell out some extra money. This is just the second wage increase, of three in total. The third will bring minimum wage up to $7.25. That will take effect starting next summer.
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