(CN) – Employers added 200,000 jobs in January, while wages, which have long been stagnant, rose at the fastest pace in more than eight years, the Labor Department said Friday.
Economists suggest the rise in wages shows employers are getting more competitive in their efforts to retain skilled workers.
Raises coming in the wake of the passage of the Republican tax cut plan and minimum wage increases in 18 states that went into effect on Jan. 1 also likely played a role in boosting the wage numbers.
The Labor Department said average hourly pay rose 9 cents to $26.74 in January. Compared with 12 months earlier, wages are up 2.9 percent — the biggest gain since the 2008 economic crisis.
As for hiring, Friday’s report said construction companies added 36,000 jobs in January, fueled by demand for new homes and remodeling.
Restaurants, hotels, bars and entertainment venues added 35,000 jobs, with the health care sector seeing a gain of 26,000, the professional and business services sector, 23,000, and manufacturers adding 15,000.