Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a law raising the state's $8 per hour minimum wage to $11 per hour - a high among U.S. states - by 2017.

Patrick told a Statehouse ceremony on Thursday that the new law would provide some relief to low-income workers, while noting it would still not be a ``livable wage'' for many Massachusetts residents.

The first increase in the minimum wage, to $9 an hour, will take effect on Jan. 1.

Activists had gathered some 350,000 signatures around the state to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot had the law not been passed.

President Barack Obama praised Massachusetts lawmakers last week for ``standing up for working men and women.''

The measure also would gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, such as restaurant servers.