WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers accelerated their hiring last month, adding a robust 288,000 jobs and helping drive the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, the lowest since September 2008.
It was the fifth straight monthly job gain above 200,000 — the best such stretch since the late 1990s tech boom. In the past 12 months, the economy has added nearly 2.5 million jobs — an average of 208,000 a month, the fastest year-over-year pace since 2006.
Still, wages have yet to rise significantly despite an economic recovery now entering its sixth year. Eventually, analysts say, the falling unemployment rate should cause pay to rise more sharply.
Thursday’s jobs report from the Labor Department made clear that the U.S. economy is moving steadily closer to full health after having shrunk at the start of the year. Growth is picking up even as major economies in Europe and Asia continue to struggle…
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