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Jan 1, 2016 10:59 AM

New England states increase their minimum wages; NH remains lowest in region

The Associated Press and staff reports

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Low-wage workers around New England have an extra reason to celebrate the new year. The hourly minimum wage climbs in almost every state except for New Hampshire.

Vermont workers see wages rise from $9.15 per hour to $9.60 on Jan. 1 as part of a series of steps that will see the state's minimum wage climb to $10.50 by 2018, and be indexed annually to inflation thereafter.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire remains at the federal minimum wage level of $7.25, the lowest in the region. Maine is $7.50 statewide, but the city of Portland increased its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, effective Friday.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts rings in the New Year with a minimum wage increase to $10 an hour and plans to up that to $11 in 2017. Connecticut and Rhode Island follow in Vermont's footsteps with increases to $9.60 an hour in 2016.

The Vermont increases are the result of legislation signed into law by Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2014. A year ago, the wage went from $8.73 to $9.15.

Shumlin says there's little evidence to support arguments that a higher minimum wage hurts job growth.

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