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The data comes as the Labor Department revealed that job growth in the month of September retreated to its lowest level in the past 12 months, while the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in nearly 50 years.

When adjusted for inflation, wage increases were higher in 2015 and 2016 than they are now, according to the Employment Cost Index.

Weak wage gains have been a soft spot in the US economy for the decade that has followed the Great Recession. It is also considered a better predictor of core inflation.

Last month, employment in the leisure and hospitality sector likely rebounded after declining by 17,000 jobs in September, the first drop in year. The ECI is widely viewed by policymakers and economists as one of the better measures of labor market slack. There are a record 7.14 million open jobs.

The Fed is not expected to raise rates at its policy meeting next week, but economists believe October's strong labor market data could see the USA central bank signal an increase in December.

Wage growth was boosted by a jump in transportation and warehousing, likely reflecting a shortage of truck drivers.

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent, matching a 17-year low hit in August. October's hiring was the strongest in eight months.

Wednesday's figures came as national unemployment hovers at 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969.

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The private sector added 227,000 jobs in October, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported Oct. 31, beating analysts' expectations.

On Friday, the Labor Department will release the other most-watched wage metric: average hourly earnings. The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index reached 137.9 this month, up from 135.3 in September.

Rising wages should help support consumer spending and soften the hit to the economy from a softening housing market and stalling business investment. And it all points to more confident consumers. From September of 2016 to September of 2017, wages and salaries rose 2.5 percent, the Labor Department said.

Strong annual wage growth would mirror other data published this week showing wages and salaries rising in the third quarter by the most since mid-2008. Payrolls rose by 134,000 jobs in September, the smallest gain in a year, after Hurricane Florence drenched North and SC, weighing on restaurant and retail employment.

Real income has been lagging behind economic growth for years.

"Broadening wage pressures across industry groups and across the pay scale are helping to drive sustained gains in wages for workers", said Ellen Zentner, chief economist at Morgan Stanley in NY.

That is seen supporting the economy through at least early 2019 when gross domestic product is expected to significantly slow as the stimulus from the Trump administration's $1.5 trillion tax cut package fades. "This is about the gradual tightening in the labor market finally forcing employers to pay more", said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Marcoeconomics.

Manufacturing employment increased by 32,000 jobs in October after adding 18,000 positions in September. The service sector contributed 189,000 to the total.


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