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(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(Bloomberg) — Wages and salaries in the United States rose at a faster pace in the first quarter, signaling workers are having some success seeking higher pay as the labor market strengthens.

The 0.7 percent advance in pay followed a 0.6 percent increase in the fourth quarter, the Labor Department said Thursday. Private wages, which exclude those government workers, rose 2.8 percent in the last year, the biggest gain since the third quarter of 2008. The agency’s employment cost index, which also includes benefits, climbed 0.7 percent in the first quarter from the prior three months.

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