Minimum wage goes to $9.75 per hour

JUNEAU (AP) — Alaska’s minimum wage increased by a dollar an hour, to $9.75, as of Jan. 1.

The state labor department estimated 12,000 jobs in Alaska paid less than that before the change.

For those working full-time at minimum wage, the department says the increase will mean about $2,000 in additional annual earnings.

Voters in November 2014 approved increasing the minimum wage from $7.75 an hour. The first increase, to $8.75 an hour, took effect in February. The second increase, to $9.75, took effect Friday.

The minimum wage is to be adjusted annually for inflation starting in 2017 and is to remain at least $1 over the federal minimum wage.

In a release, state labor commissioner Heidi Drygas said the increase is great news for workers who struggle to make ends meet, and long overdue.