U.S. job growth surged in January and wages increased further, recording their largest annual gain in more than 8-1/2 years, bolstering expectations that inflation will push higher this year as the labor market hits full employment.
Nonfarm payrolls jumped by 200,000 jobs last month after rising 160,000 in December, the Labor Department said on Friday.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. Average hourly earnings rose nine cents, or 0.3 percent, in January to $26.74, building on December’s solid 0.4 percent gain.
That boosted the year-on-year increase in average hourly earnings to 2.9 percent, the largest rise since June 2009, from 2.7 percent in December. Workers, however, put in fewer hours last month. The average workweek fell to 34.3 hours, the shortest in four months, from 34.5 hours in December.