ST. CLOUD - Minnesota's minimum wage goes up by a buck to $9 an hour on Saturday. It was a year ago on August 1st that the state's minimum wage was raised to $8 an hour.

King Banaian is the Dean of the School of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University. He says, based on figures from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, employment growth in the St. Cloud metro area has been slow in the past year, which might be due in part to the higher minimum wage.

There seems to be some slowdown in the hiring in leisure and hospitality, which might be an area where the minimum wage has its greatest impact.

According to DEED, the St. Cloud metro area had 104,263 employed people in June of this year. That's 396 more people than the 103,867 that were employed in June of last year. In addition, the St. Cloud metro area had 4,332 unemployed people in June of this year. That's 74 fewer than the 4,406 unemployed people in June of last year.

Banaian says he suspects employers have also held off on hiring new staff, in anticipation of the next increase to $9 an hour.

A 12 1/2 percent increase. And so we know that's going to have some impact on employment, particularly for teens and for lower skilled workers.

And, he says computers will probably continue to pick up some of the slack.

For example having a touch screen that you can order food from might reduce the number of people working in your restaurant, self check in at a hotel, self check out at the grocery stores...

Banaian says many people who already have jobs have already received their raises.

The minimum wage goes up again to $9.50 an hour on August 1st next year.