Supply shortages and emboldened workers: A changed economy

  • A pedestrian passes the entrance to Gotham restaurant on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in New York. When COVID-19 tore through the United States in March 2020, the recession it caused was brutal yet brief. Yet for much of 2021, the recovery was undermined by new threats: A surge in inflation that shrank the value of paychecks, hurt the least advantaged Americans most and posed a political threat to President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

  • People dine at Gotham restaurant on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in New York. When COVID-19 tore through the United States in March 2020, the recession it caused was brutal yet brief. Yet for much of 2021, the recovery was undermined by new threats: A surge in inflation that shrank the value of paychecks, hurt the least advantaged Americans most and posed a political threat to President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

  • People check in at Gotham restaurant on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in New York. When COVID-19 tore through the United States in March 2020, the recession it caused was brutal yet brief. Yet for much of 2021, the recovery was undermined by new threats: A surge in inflation that shrank the value of paychecks, hurt the least advantaged Americans most and posed a political threat to President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

  • Sebastian Cacho cooks in the kitchen at Gotham restaurant on Tuesday in New York. When COVID-19 tore through the United States in March 2020, the recession it caused was brutal yet brief. Yet for much of 2021, the recovery was undermined by new threats: A surge in inflation that shrank the value of paychecks, hurt the least advantaged Americans most and posed a political threat to President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

  • Muhammad Rahman delivers orders at Gotham restaurant on Tuesday in New York. When COVID-19 tore through the United States in March 2020, the recession it caused was brutal yet brief. Yet for much of 2021, the recovery was undermined by new threats: A surge in inflation that shrank the value of paychecks, hurt the least advantaged Americans most and posed a political threat to President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. (AP Photos/Brittainy Newman)

Employees at a fast-food restaurant in Sacramento, California, exasperated over working in stifling heat for low wages, demanded more pay and a new air conditioner — and got both.