Aetna announced one of its largest pay hikes recently. CEO Mark Bertolini says he believes it largely could pay for itself by making workers more productive. Courtesy of Aetna hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Aetna

McDonald's announced this week that it will pay workers in its company-owned stores $1 more per hour than the local minimum wage. Wal-Mart, Target and the parent company of Marshalls and TJ Maxx have also promised to boost wages for their lowest-paid workers this year. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Landov

It was a great time to be an American man in the workplace after World War II. Hiring was strong for both white-collar jobs and factory work while industries like autos, aviation and steel were booming. By the 1960s, that started to change. Three Lions/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Three Lions/Getty Images