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US worker annual compensation rose 2.8% in third quarter

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FILE – In this Sept. 17, 2019, file photo prospective employees line-up, many for hours, to enter a job fair in Seattle. On Thursday, Oct. 31, the Labor Department reports on wages and benefits for U.S. workers during the July-September quarter. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Annual wages and benefits for U.S. workers continued to rise at a modest pace in the third quarter, even as unemployment stays near a half-century low.

The Labor Department says that growth in pay and benefits for all U.S. workers rose 2.8% in the July-September quarter, compared to the same period in 2018. That’s at a slightly quicker pace than the second quarter’s 2.7% growth.

The report was reflective of the hesitance of employers to step up wages, even in a strong job market.

Compensation ticked up to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 0.7%, from the three-month gain of 0.6% for the second quarter.

Wages and salaries, which make up the bulk of employment costs, rose 0.9% while benefits, covering items such as health insurance and pensions, rose 0.5%.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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