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Retail Workers' Gains Drive Long-Awaited Pickup in U.S. Wages

Inside A J.C. Penney Co. Store  Ahead Of Earnings Figures
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A long-awaited pickup in wage growth to accompany the robust U.S. labor market appears to be finally taking shape.

Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees -- a group which comprises 82 percent of the private-sector workforce -- rose 2.8 percent in the year through May, the biggest advance of the expansion that began in mid-2009, according to Labor Department data published Friday.