Wall St. loses ground after mixed jobs data

U.S. stocks edged lower on Friday after data showed employment in December rose less than expected but a rebound in wages suggested sustained growth in the labor market, according to Reuters

The public and private sectors together added 156,000 jobs last month, a U.S. Labor Department report showed, compared with 204,000 jobs added in November.

Average hourly earnings increased 10 cents, or 0.4 percent, after slipping 0.1 percent in November. That pushed the year-on-year increase in average hourly earnings to 2.9 percent, the largest increase since June 2009.

Unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7 percent.

The report adds to a recent spate of robust economic data across sectors including manufacturing and automobiles. This, coupled with President-elect Donald Trump's pledge for fiscal stimulus, could prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates faster than anticipated.

"Wage growth is firming up and if we get over 3.0 percent, the Fed would feel a lot more comfortable to raise rates further," said Craig Dismuke, chief economist at Vining Sparks in Memphis, Tennessee.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve's December meeting released on Wednesday showed that almost every Fed policymaker agreed Trump's measures could call for a faster move on rates. The central bank currently expects to raise rates thrice this year.
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