WASHINGTON – U.S. employers hired at a stellar pace last month, wages rose by the most in six years, and Americans responded by streaming into the job market to find work.
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The Labor Department says the economy gained a seasonally adjusted 257,000 jobs in January, and added far more in previous months than originally estimated. Businesses added 414,000 jobs in November, the government now says, the most in 17 years. Total job gains in December were also revised higher, to 329,000, up from 252,000.
The unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. More Americans began looking for jobs, though not all found work. Their job hunting suggests they are more confident about their prospects.
Average hourly wages, meanwhile, jumped 12 cents to $24.75.