Wages in the US jumped by 1.5% in the three months ending in September, the most on records dating back 20 years, which is a stark illustration of the growing ability of workers to demand higher pay from companies that are desperate to fill a near-record number of available jobs. Workers have gained the upper hand in the job market for the first time in at least two decades and they are commanding higher pay, more benefits, and other perks like flexible work hours. With more jobs available than there are unemployed people, government data shows, businesses have been forced to work harder to attract staff. Lower-paid workers have seen the biggest gains, with pay rising for employees at restaurants, bars, and hotels by 8.1 % in the third quarter from a year earlier; for retail workers it’s jumped 5.9%.

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