The Clarion-Ledger, 7/24/7

A new federal minimum wage will go into effect today, the first in a series of wage increases heralded by some low-income advocates but criticized by some business leaders as a financial blow.

The change will boost pay for covered, nonexempt employees to $5.85 an hour, from $5.15. The next jump will occur July 24, 2008, to $6.55 and then to $7.25 effective July 24, 2009.