Swelling Wages

Many workers are asking for--and getting--more money. Does that mean inflation?

Don't look to Patricia E. McDonald for evidence that American workers are afraid to ask for more money. She does it routinely. As a high-tech temp, the 35-year-old computer-networking specialist from Stoughton, Mass., charges whatever the market will bear--currently about $55 an hour for long-term jobs, $80 an hour for short ones. "Every year I give myself a fairly aggressive raise," McDonald says. "I just say, `I'll up my rate and see what it brings.' It slows down some of the phone calls, but I stay busy."

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