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U.S. Unemployment Rate at 4.6% in 2006

Americans are working, inflation is under control and wages are increasing with December unemployment rate at 4.5%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The wages surge was 4.2% in 2006 and the annual unemployment rate came in at 4.6%.

“Today’s strong report shows that our economy continues to produce steady, sustainable employment growth with strong wage gains for America’s workers. Average hourly earnings for workers jumped 4.2 percent in 2006, the best 12-month showing since 2000," U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said in a public statement on January 5, 2007. "This is further evidence that the president’s economic policies are working and producing strong wage gains for America’s workers, and we should be cautious of future policies that would slow these gains.”

Nonfarm employment increased by 167,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. Job gains occurred in several service-providing industries, including professional and business services, health care, and food services. Average hourly earnings rose by 8 cents, or 0.5 percent, in December.

The number of unemployed persons (6.8 million) was about unchanged in December, and the unemployment rate held at 4.5 percent. Over the year, these measures declined from 7.3 million and 4.9 percent, respectively.

In December, unemployment rates for the major worker groups--adult men (4.0 percent), adult women (3.9 percent), teenagers (15.2 percent), whites (4.0 percent), blacks (8.4 percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent)--showed little or no change. The unemployment rate for Asians was 2.4 percent not seasonally adjusted.

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