Job seekers fill out application forms before a screening session for seasonal jobs at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York in this March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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U.S. labor costs in the second quarter recorded their smallest increase in 33 years amid tepid gains in the private sector, but it likely was a temporary setback against the backdrop of diminishing labor market slack.The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, edged up 0.2 percent, the Labor Department said. That was the smallest gain since the series started in the second quarter of 1982 and followed a 0.7 percent rise in the first quarter.Wages and salaries, which account for 70 percent of employment costs, rose 0.2 percent in the second quarter, also the smallest increase on record.Compensation in the services sector nudged up 0.1 percent in the second quarter after rising 0.6 percent in the prior period.
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