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MW: U.S. adds 227,000 new jobs in January
 
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The U.S. created 227,000 new jobs in January to mark the biggest gain in four months, revealing an economy that still has plenty of vigor nearly eight years into a recovery that shows little sign of ending.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 197,000 increase in new nonfarm jobs.

Retailers, construction firms, financial companies and restaurants led the way in hiring in January.

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The increase in new jobs last month, which includes the first 11 days of the new Trump administration, points to an economy that remains on a steady keel. Growth has averaged about 2% a year since 2010, fueled by a surge in hiring that’s reduced the unemployment rate near a nine-year low.


In premarket action, stocks appeared set to open higher. The Dow Jones industrial average DJIA, -0.03% has lost a few hundred points since last week after topping 20,000 for the first time.

The unemployment rate rose a notch to 4.8% last month, mostly because more people were looking for work. Job openings are near are record high and that’s drawing a larger share of Americans back into the labor force.

A tighter labor market is also forcing firms to pay more to workers, an emerging trend that’s likely to further underpin the recovery.

In January, hourly wages rose 0.1% to $26 an hour. Over the past 12 months wages have climbed 2.5% - faster than the less than 2% annual gains that prevailed through most of the recovery.

President Trump has vowed to make jobs the central focus of his White House and Republicans plan to offer a mix of tax cuts, reduced regulation and more spending on public works.

Many of those policies are still in the early works, though, and the effects won’t be felt for months. At the same time, some of the new administration’s policies such as tougher trade rules have made businesses anxious.

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