Economy kicks it up, adding wages, 200K jobs

A mostly positive report shows the United States added 200,000 jobs in January 2018, with wages going higher and the unemployment rate, at 4.1 percent, lodged at its lowest level in about 17 years.

The unemployment rate in January held at a 17-year low of just over four percent for the fourth consecutive month.

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“Over the last three months, the economy has added an average of 192,000 (jobs) per month,” said Ball State University economist Michael Hicks.

Wages rose, too, with average hourly earnings for private-sector workers climbing a reported 0.34 percent last month, notching a rise of 2.9 percent over the last year. That represents the strongest wage gain since 2009.

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Hicks said that while hourly wages rose only “slightly” in January, the year-over-year wage growth outpaced inflation by a full percentage point.

Overall job count revisions for December and November were down by 24,000, suggesting a more stable level of employment growth over the fall and winter than earlier reports, Hicks also said.

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And manufacturing once again proved strong, with that sector of employment sustaining its expansionary trend from 2017, he added.

And Friday’s report represented another record: It was the 88th consecutive month of job creation, the longest streak of continuous hiring on record.

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