On New Year's Day, higher minimum wages will be taking effect in more than three dozen states and localities across the country.
For employers, that could pose some hard decisions.
Some involve raising the prices they charge customers; others, cutting back on the number of hours their employees are on the clock.
If those steps don’t work, some may consider reducing the size of their workforce.
Senior Economist at the San Diego Institute for Economic Research Kelly Cunningham says he sees the struggle businesses are facing.
"In Seattle, I've seen reports where businesses are struggling, they're having a bit of a bit of a problem,” Cunningham said. “Especially in these categories of restaurants and service people where their costs -- they have to pass them on, or they can't absorb those costs -- and in some cases, they are shutting down."
Right now and next year, $11.50 an hour is the "minimum" in the city of San Diego for companies with 26 workers or more.
In 2019, it'll go up annually by the cost of living index.
A study just released by the Employment Policy Institute projects that California's workforce will shrink by as many as 400-thousand jobs by 2020.
That's when the state's $15 an hour minimum will be fully phased in.
Economists say higher minimum wages are hard to absorb for small "mom and pop" firms. High-tech and automated advances are welcomed throughout the marketplace.
"We've already seen that happening,” Cunningham said in an interview Thursday. “And we’ll probably see that happen even more, as employers will look at ways that they can save through automation, through machines, through technology instead of adding labor."
California’s cities with the highest percentage increases in minimum wages are Mountain View, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale – 15.4 percent each, from $13 to $15 an hour.
Mountain View and Sunnyvale are going from $13 to $15 dollars an hour.