- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska’s minimum wage will be among the highest in the country, increasing by a dollar an hour, to $9.75, starting Friday.

The state labor department estimates 12,000 jobs in Alaska currently pay less than $9.75 an hour.

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 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 called the increase great news for workers who struggle to make ends meet, and long overdue.

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