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Workers are finally getting raises again

One more sign that life is improving for American workers: paychecks are finally growing faster.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that workers' wages and salaries grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent during the second quarter, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2008.

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Wages and salaries only make up 70 percent of total compensation, including benefits. Total compensation costs as a whole also grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent during the second quarter.

Though it's true that wage growth was much faster before the Great Recession, the news is still a sign that the labor market is tightening, as increased demand for labor helps boost paychecks.

The news comes amid a week of signals that the recovery is improving. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that GDP grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the second quarter, and the Federal Reserve after its most recent meeting acknowledged a healing job market and a pickup in inflation — another sign that wages are on their way up, after price growth had been low and stable for a long time.

Friday's July employment report could provide even further reason for optimism. Economists expect the report to show that employers added around 230,000 jobs in July.