Long-awaited wage growth posted a recovery high in August while payroll gains beat expectations and the unemployment rate held near a generational low of 3.9 percent, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report Friday.

Average hourly earnings rose 2.9 percent for the month on an annualized basis, while nonfarm payrolls grew by 201,000. Economists surveyed by Reuters had been expecting earnings to rise 2.7 percent, payrolls to increase by 191,000 and the jobless level to decline one-tenth of a point to 3.8 percent.

The news wasn’t all good on the employment front. Counts for the two previous months were lowered by 50,000 – from 248,000 to 208,000 in June and from 157,000 to 147,000 in July. In the big picture, though, the August number was in line with the average monthly gains of 196,000 over the past 12 months.

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