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Labor Department •

The US economy is finally looking up as the Labor Department released the employment figures pertaining to the month of January on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. The latest report portrays a robust performance and the hiring was particularly strong in November and December than it was previously estimated.

It is 5½ years since the end of the recession and the US job market is finally looking up. The indicators of a healthy recovery are there for everyone to see.

The average hourly wages increased by 12 cents last month to $24.75. This has been the steepest rise seen since 2008.Hourly pay which has been stagnant for some time has increased by 2.2 percent. This is above inflation which rose just 0.8% in 2014.

The unemployment rate increased to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent. However it was for a good reason, more than 1 million Americans were scouring for jobs and all of them were not successful in getting employment. Their numbers inflated the numbers of people counted as unemployed. The increase in the numbers of job hunters suggests that Americans have become more positive about their prospects.

Russell Price, senior economist at the financial services firm Ameriprise said, “For the average American, it’s certainly good news — 2015 is going to be the year of the American consumer. With job growth being strong, we’re going to see a pickup in wages and salaries.”

The positive job and pay gains makes it increasingly likely that the Federal Reserve will start raising the short term interest rates by the middle of 2015. Investors were not lagging behind and responded smartly to the better than expected jobs figures by selling U.S. Treasury, which send the yields up. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.93 percent from 1.81 percent shortly before the jobs report was released.

The stock prices have increased mildly and the Dow Jones industrial average gained 51 points in the late morning business. Falling gas prices has checked the inflation and also increased the average American’s spending power.

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