What's going on here? Why are wages holding up despite record numbers of part-timers and nearly 10 percent official unemployment? It's the inflation.

In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, inflation eroded weekly pay. This recession has suffered from an opposite problem: a deflationary cycle that has kept prices down, and kept employers nervous about adding more workers. But as hiring picks up over the next few months, it'll be interesting to watch what happens with wages. One the one hand, a more competitive job market should push wages up in some sectors. On the other hand, rising prices and creeping inflation could eat away the value of some of those raises.

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