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Why N.C. is Not Likely to See a Minimum Wage Increase Anytime Soon

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Nineteen states received a raise in the minimum wage at the beginning of 2018. North Carolina is not one of these states, keeping their minimum wage at $7.25 an hour, which is the same in 18 other states in the U.S. 

This is the ninth consecutive year N.C. has not received a minimum wage increase. The Winston-Salem Journal indicates N.C. will not see a rise in minimum wage anytime soon. 

Michael Walden, an economics professor at N.C. State University states, "Given the political composition of the General Assembly, I see little chance of a minimum wage hike although (Democratic) Governor Roy Cooper will likely propose it."

There has been little Republican backing of a minimum wage increase, which is why legislators and analysts do not believe there will be an increase in the near future.

Fifty-two thousand North Carolinians who work as waitresses or waiters make less than $7.25 an hour; however, much of their payment comes from tips.

According to Donny Lambeth, Forsyth County Representative, the minimum wage question stays in the debate with Raleigh legislators due to the "ever-widening economic gap" found in urban North Carolina and rural North Carolina.

Lambeth states, "A major part of North Carolina's economy is still agriculture, and these are heavily low wage with limited benefit jobs." He believes increasing N.C.'s minimum wage would cause an "[increase to] the cost of many of our agriculture products."

N.C.'s economy is doing well, according to Lambeth. Charlotte and the Triangle are booming, ranking at the top or near the top in business climate studies. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low, totaling at 4.1 percent.

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