The Bernalillo County Commission has approved a new minimum wage of $8.50 an hour for the county's unincorporated areas with two 50-cent increases by January.
The commission approved the measure Tuesday evening by a 3-2 vote.
Employees currently making $7.50 an hour will see a half-dollar hourly increase on July 1 and another 50-cent hike on Jan. 1 to reach a wage of $8.50 an hour.
Commissioner Art De La Cruz sponsored the measure. He says the increase in the minimum wage will boost the county's economy.
The new ordinance will apply to about 1,400 businesses in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County outside the city limits.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the commission plans to increase the minimum wage every year based on a cost-of-living formula.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.