Hiring picked up in August and so did worker pay -- registering the fastest wage growth since 2009 in an encouraging sign that wages may finally be moving higher after years of sluggish gains.
August was the 95th straight month the U.S. economy added jobs, with a robust 201,000 job gains, the Labor Department reported Friday, while wages for U.S. workers grew at 2.9 percent in the past year. The national unemployment rate remained at 3.9 percent, one of the lowest levels in half a century.
The higher pay is a sign that businesses are having to compete hard for workers. Many business leaders have complained they cannot find the workers they need, especially for skilled jobs like welders or computers coders.
Economists had expected that companies would start to raise wages significantly to attract -- and keep -- the talent they want. But pay had been creeping up slowly for much of the recovery. That appears to be changing now that there are more job openings than unemployed Americans.