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The US private sector tacked on the most jobs since June in the first month of 2017, widely beating estimates and underscoring the strength of the labour market.

The private-sector added 246,000 jobs last month, beating the estimate of 168,000 and representing a sharp pick-up from the 151,000 increase in December, according to payroll processor ADP.

Wednesday’s report comes ahead of the more closely-watched figures from the US labour department that are due out on Friday.

While the data can, at times, be volatile, it highlights the continued vigour of the jobs market even as the unemployment rate has headed towards levels that are seen to be consistent with a normally-functioning economy.

In turn, that may put more upward pressure on wages, that have finally begun to increase more rapidly after a long stretch of tepid growth.

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