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Wage Pickup in U.S. Renews Hope Long-Awaited Liftoff Is Near

  • Average hourly earnings rise 2.9%, most since recession
  • Gains help boost bets on two more Fed rate hikes this year
Chevron Corp. Jack/St. Malo Platform As Big Oil Rivals Shale In Gulf
Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

The surprise August pickup in U.S. wages offered hope that earnings are finally pivoting away from the mediocre pace that’s marred an otherwise strong job market.

Average hourly earnings for private workers increased 2.9 percent in August from a year earlier, the most since the recession ended in mid-2009, a Labor Department report showed Friday. That exceeded all estimates in a Bloomberg survey and the median projection for 2.7 percent. Nonfarm payrolls also rose from the prior month by an above-forecast 201,000.