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ARKANSAS — If you live in Arkansas and work a minimum wage job, you can expect your wallet to get a bit meatier in the New Year.

“I think it`s a good thing that we`re starting somewhere,” said resident Michael Lemons.

Starting January 1, the minimum wage will increase to $8.50 an hour. It’s a dollar higher than the current $7.50.

“The minimum wage do need to be raised. That`s for sure,” said Ernest Williams.

The increase keeps Arkansas as the highest-paying state for minimum wage workers in the Mid-South. Tennessee and Mississippi are sticking with the national minimum wage which is $7.25 an hour.

Annette Williams worked for minimum wage when she was younger, but said she couldn’t afford to do it nowadays.

“It was easier and as time went on, then things got harder `cause the cost of living went higher and then you weren`t making no money.”

Sentiments echoed all around the Memphis suburb as workers inch ever closer to that promised pay increase.