Samara Lambright started a new job last fall at a call center for a big national bank. She's making $18 an hour—much more than she used to, even though everything costs more nowadays, too.

On the downside, the hours aren't great for spending time with her two-year-old daughter or for finding daycare. Lambright works weekday shifts that end at 8:30 p.m. and at least one day each weekend. "It's a good job, but at the end of the day, it's hard," she says. "Sometimes it feels like they're not willing to accommodate working moms or single moms."

Her story shows how the reassessment of work that's under way in hot pandemic labor markets, putting pressure on employers to offer a better deal, has plenty of room to run. It also illustrates the dilemma for the Federal Reserve—which is tasked with ensuring that jobs are abundant, but also that inflation doesn't eat into the wages of people like Lambright.

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