U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs in December, capping a year of slower but solid hiring. The report is the last major snapshot of the economy that President-elect Donald Trump will inherit from President Barack Obama.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7 percent from a nine-year low of 4.6 percent.
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Hourly pay jumped 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the biggest increase in more than seven years. That is a positive sign that the low unemployment rate is forcing businesses to offer higher wages to attract and keep workers. Sluggish growth in Americans' paychecks has been a longstanding weak spot in the seven-year recovery.
For all of 2016, job growth averaged 180,000 a month, down from 229,000 in 2015, but enough to lower unemployment over time.