New data from the Labor Department show 201,000 new jobs were created in August, which is about average, month-in, month-out, for the past year. The unemployment rate was unchanged, at 3.9 percent. We’ve been sitting in that low-unemployment ballpark since mid-spring. Average hourly earnings for private sector workers accelerated in August. They’re up 2.9 percent compared to one year ago, which is not something we’ve been able to say for almost a decade. All of this is another sign that the tight labor market is pushing employers to raise pay to attract and retain workers.
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