The U.S. added 257,000 jobs in January and hiring in the final two months of 2014 was even stronger than previously reported, reflecting by far the strongest pace of job creation since a recovery began more than five years ago. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 230,000 nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, edged up to 5.7% from 5.6% as more people entered the labor force in search of work, the Labor Department said Friday. In a good sign, average hourly wages jumped 0.5% in January to $24.75 after declining in December. That put the 12-month increase at 2.2%, close to a post-recession high. The amount of time people worked each week also remained at a postrecession high of 34.6 hours. The economy has now added at least 200,000 jobs for 12 straight months, a feat last accomplished in 1994-1995, and hiring shows little sign of slowing down despite weaker economic growth around the world. In November, the number of jobs created even topped 400,000 for the first time since the end of the recession excluding the temporary hiring of Census workers in 2010. November's job gain was revised up to 423,000 from 353,000. The government also raised the number of jobs created in December to 329,000 from 252,000. The labor-force participation rate rose several ticks to 62.9%.
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