WASHINGTON (AP) — One private economist says today's January jobs report shows that this is going to be "the year of the American consumer." Russell Price of the financial services firm Ameriprise says strong job growth will bring "a pickup in wages and salaries."
Wages posted their biggest jump in six years last month, as employers added 257,000 jobs. And hiring turns out to have been far stronger in November and December than had been estimated.
The report offers the most compelling evidence to date that the U.S. job market is finally enjoying the hiring and pay growth typical of a healthy recovery, some five and a-half years after the official end of the Great Recession.
The unemployment rate inched up from 5.6 percent to 5.7 percent -- but that was because more than 1 million Americans began looking for jobs. That suggests Americans have grown more confident about their prospects.
Stocks have been higher after the release of the report. Investors are anticipating that the burst in hiring will result in stronger economic growth, as well as higher interest rates.