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U.S. wages and benefits see their biggest increase in 9 years

SHARE U.S. wages and benefits see their biggest increase in 9 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans' wages and benefits rose by 4.4 percent over the 12 months ending in June, the biggest increase in nine years, the government said Thursday.

The Labor Department reported that the 12-month increase in its Employment Cost Index, a closely watched gauge of inflation pressures, was up from a 4.3 percent increase for the 12 months ending in March of this year.

While only a slight upward tick, the 4.4 percent increase was the biggest gain in wages and salaries since a 4.6 percent rise in June 1991.

For the three months ending in June, the increase in wages and benefits was 1 percent, down slightly from a 1.4 percent advance in the first quarter of this year.