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US job gains, wage growth beat forecasts at year-end 2018

U.S. employers added more jobs than expected in December 2018 as annual wage growth surpassed analysts' estimates, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed.

Total nonfarm payroll employment grew 312,000 in December 2018, beating the Econoday consensus estimate of 180,000 job gains. The increase was led by subsectors covering healthcare, food services and drinking establishments, construction, manufacturing, and retail trade, the report said. Employment gains for November 2018 were revised up to 176,000 from 155,000, and for October 2018 to 274,000 from 237,000.

Average hourly earnings grew 3.2%, or 84 cents, year over year, faster than the 3.1% growth seen in the prior month and higher than the Econoday consensus forecast of 3.0%.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% from 3.7%.

Yields on 10-year Treasurys were up 6 basis points to 2.617% as of 8:49 a.m. ET.

"This really positive report should certainly ease creeping fears in the market that the Federal Reserve may be forced to cut interest rates," wrote James Knightley, chief international economist at ING, in a note.

"However, he cited reasons for caution about the longevity of the upbeat figures, including waning benefits from the U.S.' fiscal stimulus of 2018, the strong dollar and concerns over protectionism."

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