U.S. employers likely maintained a brisk pace of hiring in December while increasing wages for workers amid growing confidence in the economy, which could pave the way for the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates in March.

Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 190,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, after a gain of 228,000 in November. Despite the anticipated moderation, employment gains would still be above the monthly average of 170,000 over the past three months.

Harsh weather in some parts of the country likely contributed to some of the job growth slowdown in December.

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