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U.S. Employment Spikes Much More Than Expected In December

Employment in the U.S. spiked by much more than anticipated in the month of December, according to a closely watched report released by the Labor Department on Friday.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment soared by 312,000 jobs in December after climbing by an upwardly revised 176,000 jobs in November.

Economists had expected employment to increase by about 177,000 jobs compared to the addition of 155,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Despite the much stronger than expected job growth, the report said the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent in December from 3.7 percent in November. The unemployment rate had been expected to come in unchanged.

The Labor Department also said average hourly employee earnings climbed by 11 cents to $27.48 in December, reflecting a 3.2 percent increase compared to the same month a year ago.

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