In January, New Jersey’s minimum wage will hit its highest rate ever, $15.13 an hour, after several years of phased increases.
Proponents who ushered in the increase, including progressive activists and Democratic state leaders, argue it’s necessary to afford a basic standard of living in one of the most expensive states in the nation.
But the increase has brought with it an age-old economic question: Does increasing the minimum wage put the onus on businesses to pass the cost on to consumers, leading to price increases?
“The economy was moving at 85 miles per hour. It shifted down to 70 miles per hour,” James Hughes, a Rutgers professor and former dean at the university’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, said in an interview this summer. “It’s still speeding, but you’re cooling off a little bit.”