Job growth slows, but wages show big gain

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL - Job growth slowed to 151,000 in January, but wages increased significantly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.9 percent.

So the news was decidedly mixed in this report, giving the Federal Reserve more questions to ponder when it meets in March to decide whether to increase interest rates again. The jobs number was disappointing, but the 12-cent increase in average hourly earnings to $25.39 was an encouraging sign for the economy. Wages are up 2.5 percent over where they were a year ago. The Fed has been waiting for signs that workers' paychecks are growing. January's wage growth confirmed what business economists have been seeing.

"The tightening job market may finally be giving workers a bit more in the way of bargaining power, something they've lacked for a very long time," said Jared Bernstein, former chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden.

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