Jan. 5, 2007 -- Following months of flat growth, nonfarm payrolls rose by 167,000 in December, while hourly earnings increased by 0.5 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The gains kept the national jobless rate at 4.5 percent, compared to 4.9 percent at the start of the year, the report said.

Payrolls grew by an average 153,000 new jobs per month in 2006, for a year-end total of 1.84 million, the report said.

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