Wages and salaries for all civilian workers rose 3.1 percent from a year earlier, the most since 2008.

U.S. employment costs rose less than forecast in the fourth quarter as wage and salary gains cooled, adding to signs that inflation pressures remain mild despite a strong job market.

The employment cost index, a broad gauge monitored by the Federal Reserve, increased 0.7 percent in the October-December period from the prior quarter, according to Labor Department data released Thursday. That compared with the median estimate of economists for a 0.8 percent increase. Wages and salaries rose 0.6 percent following a 0.9 percent gain in the prior period.

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