Big Job Gains and Rising Pay in Labor Data

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from The New York Times,

Ever since the recovery from the Great Recession began more than five years ago, the most crucial missing pieces of the economic puzzle were the lack of consistently strong gains in hiring and better wages for most working Americans struggling to make ends meet. Now, at last, those pieces are starting to fall into place.

The Labor Department reported on Friday that employers added 321,000 jobs in November, a much stronger number than economists had predicted and the 10th consecutive month of net job gains above 200,000.

Even more significant was that the improving job market finally delivered a sharp jump in average hourly earnings for ordinary workers that was double the anticipated 0.2 percent increase.

The jobless rate itself stayed at 5.8 percent.

The pickup in wage growth comes as gasoline prices are plunging, providing a double boon for consumers and retailers with the holiday shopping season underway.

With one month still to go, the total increase in payrolls of 2.65 million is already the best annual figure since the late 1990s.

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