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Low-Wage Workers Finally Get a Raise

The labor market is near full employment. The jobless rate is low. The economy is adding tens of thousands of jobs each month, and—at last—wages and earnings are increasing for workers at or just above the minimum wage. Indeed, Walmart on Thursday announced that it would provide a wage hike to and expand benefits for employees across the country, with 85,000 workers with two decades of seniority at the big-box retailer getting a $1,000 bonus and a million workers in total benefitting. In addition, 18 states bumped up their minimum wages for the new year, providing an estimated $5 billion more a year to 4.5 million workers, the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute has calculated.