A man speaks with a potential employer Sept. 13 at a job fair in Hartford, Conn. Recent wage gains reflect the steady healing of the labor market since the worst of the Great Recession.
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A construction worker uses a grinder to cut through steel reinforcing bars Feb. 1 in New York. A surge of job seekers sent the unemployment rate up 0.1 percentage point, to 5 percent, in March.
A cashier counts money at a Toys "R" Us in Los Angeles last November. A pinch in earnings and hours disappointed those looking for a pickup in paychecks last month.
Liz O. Baylen/LA Times via Getty Images
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.