The numbers: The U.S. created 200,000 new jobs in the first month of 2018, showing that companies are still hungry to hire more than eight years after an economic expansion began. Even better, worker pay also rose at the fastest yearly pace since 2009.

The increase in hiring exceeded Wall Street’s forecast. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 190,000 increase in nonfarm jobs.

Unemployment remained at a 17-year low of 4.1%, the government said Friday.

The big news is rising worker pay.

Average hourly wages jumped 9 cents, or 0.3%, to $26.74. That pushed the yearly increase to 2.9% from 2.6%, marking the highest level since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009.

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