US job growth surges in December; unemployment rate rises.

US employers hired the most workers in 10 months in December while boosting wages, which could help to allay a recent upsurge in fears about the economy's health that has roiled financial markets.

The upbeat employment report from the Labor Department last Friday stood in stark contrast with reports this week showing Chinese factory activity contracting for the first time in 19 months in December and weak manufacturing across much of Europe and Asia.

Concerns about the economy had been boosted by surveys showing sharp declines in consumer confidence and manufacturing activity last month.

Both were seen as more  red flags that the economic expansion, now in its ninth year and the second longest on record, is losing steam. [Agencies]


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