U.S. gains 200,000 jobs in January; wage growth hits 8 1/2-year high
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. generated 200,000 new jobs in January and yearly wage growth hit an eight-and-a-half-year high, highlighting the strongest labor market in two decades. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 190,000 increase in nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate was unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1%. The big news was a strong gain in wages. Worker pay increased 2.9% in the 12 months ended in January, the biggest advance since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009. Hourly pay rose 9 cents, or 0.3%, to $26.74 an hour, the government said Friday. The average workweek slipped 0.2 hours to 34.3 hours, however, partly because of harsh winter weather. December job gains were raised to 160,000 from 148,000. The increase in jobs in November was cut to 216,000 from 252,000.