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Even though the U.S. labor market is the tightest it has been in 50 years, many companies are pushing back against raising wages. However, cities and states across the United States are forcing them to boost worker pay, with 10 large cities and California passing $15 per hour minimum wage laws. Additionally, New York has set a $15 minimum for fast-food workers and Massachusetts has introduced the same rate for home health workers. After the midterm elections, Arkansas and Missouri passed higher hourly minimums of $11 and $12, respectively. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that wages rose 3.1 percent year over year, below the 3-4 percent increases that routinely happened in the tight labor markets of the 1990s and 2000s. “There is some sign that the public is impatient with the state of affairs,” says Brookings’ Mark Muro. “If companies and the marketplace are not going to take care of us or their own, the public is stepping in.” Some suggest that company pushback is weakening.

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