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Americans See Enduring Wage Gains as Labor Market Tightens

  • Worker pay rises at fastest pace since end of last recession
  • Fiscal stimulus would stoke further gains as labor scarce
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U.S. Dec. Jobs Report: Breaking Down the Data

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After six straight years of annual job gains topping 2 million, America’s labor market is as tight as ever, and it’s entering the next phase: an enduring pickup in wages.

Average hourly earnings jumped by 2.9 percent in the 12 months through December, the most since the last recession ended in June 2009, according to the Labor Department’s employment report released Friday in Washington. Workers in almost every category, from mining and construction to retail and education, saw paychecks rise from November. The 4.7 percent jobless rate remains close to a nine-year low, even with a tick up last month.