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​Americans' wage gains remain muted in 2015

WASHINGTON - U.S. paychecks increased moderately in the final three months of last year, a gain that was little changed from the sluggish post-recession pace.

The Labor Department says the employment cost index, which tracks wages and benefits, rose 0.6 percent in the October-December quarter. That's the same as the previous three months.

In the past year, salaries and benefits have risen just 2 percent, again marking the same annual pace as the previous two quarters. That's below the roughly 3.5 percent rate consistent with a healthy economy.

The modest wage increase suggests that inflation will likely remain tame in the coming months. Higher labor costs would force companies to raise prices. The Federal Reserve predicted Wednesday that inflation would stay low in the short term.

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