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After decades during which employers usually held the upper hand, something feels different in the U.S. labor market. Wages are rising across the income spectrum. Workers are quitting in huge numbers. McDonald’s franchisees are offering hourly workers child care and college tuition.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented government aid in response to it are clearly part of the explanation for this, but it may also be relevant that the working-age population stopped growing a couple of years ago.

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