A construction worker pauses at a building site, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo / Michael Dwyer)

For months, the Fed has been warily watching the U.S. economy’s robust job gains out of concern that employers, desperate to hire, will keep boosting pay and, in turn, keep inflation elevated. But January’s blowout job growth coincided with an actual slowdown in wage growth.

Hiring signs are displayed at a grocery store in Arlington Heights, Ill., Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh, File)

Pay and benefits for America’s workers grew at a healthy but more gradual pace in the final three months of 2022, a third straight slowdown, which could help reassure the Federal Reserve that wage gains won’t fuel higher inflation.

Auto parts are displayed on a shelf at a car repair shop, Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Collingdale, Pa. (AP Photo / Matt Slocum, File)

The ongoing slowdown in wholesale price growth is adding to evidence that the worst bout of inflation in four decades is steadily easing, though it remains far above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%.

A home sale sign is picture on Dec. 27, 2022. (WTTW News)

A look at the Chicago residential property market as we head into 2023 after a year of interest rate hikes. 

Then-Council of Economic Advisers Chairman under President Barack Obama, Austan Goolsbee, left, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 28, 2013, before the Joint Economic Committee hearing on state of the U.S. economy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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As head of a regional Fed bank, Goolsbee will have a vote on the central bank’s interest rate decisions in 2023. Each year, four of the regional bank presidents rotate into voting positions on the Fed’s rate-setting committee.

A help wanted sign is displayed in Deerfield, Ill., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. The U.S. government will issue the October jobs report on Friday morning. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh, File)

Friday’s report from the government showed that hiring was brisk across industries last month, though the overall gain declined from 315,000 in September. The unemployment rate rose from a five-decade low of 3.5% to a still-healthy 3.7%.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky)
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The Fed’s move raised its key short-term rate to a range of 3.75% to 4%, its highest level in 15 years. It was the central bank’s sixth rate hike this year — a streak that has made mortgages and other consumer and business loans increasingly expensive and heightened the risk of a recession.

A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Friday’s government report showed that hiring fell from 315,000 in August to the weakest monthly gain since April 2021. The unemployment rate fell from 3.7% to 3.5%, matching a half-century low.

Help wanted sign is displayed in Deerfield, Ill., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022 (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh)

The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.

In this June 15, 2018, file photo, cash is fanned out from a wallet in North Andover, Mass. (AP Photo / Elise Amendola, File)

The economy shrank in the first half of this year, the government confirmed in a report Thursday, underscoring fears of a broad-based slowdown that could lead to a recession.

Street signs at the intersection of Wall and Broad Streets are shown in lower Manhattan, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (AP Photo / John Minchillo, File)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1%, becoming the last of the major U.S. stock indexes to fall into what’s known as a bear market. The S&P 500 closed 1% lower and the Nasdaq dropped 0.6%.

The New York Stock Exchange is seen, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.6%, closing at its lowest level since late 2020. The S&P 500 fell 1.7%, close to its 2022 low set in mid-June, while the Nasdaq slid 1.8%. The selling capped another rough week on Wall Street, leaving the major indexes with their fifth weekly loss in six weeks.

Construction workers is seen working on a high rise residential and commercial building under construction at the Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer)

Unemployment dropped another notch, from 3.6% to 3.5%, matching the more than 50-year low reached just before the pandemic took hold.

A man shops at a supermarket on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo  /Andres Kudacki)

The decline that the Commerce Department reported Thursday in the gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of the economy — followed a 1.6% annual drop from January through March. Consecutive quarters of falling GDP constitute one informal, though not definitive, indicator of a recession.

Pedestrians pass the New York Stock Exchange on July 14, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo / John Minchillo, File)

Growth appears to be sputtering, home sales are tumbling and economists warn of a potential recession ahead. But consumers are still spending, businesses keep posting profits and the economy keeps adding hundreds of thousands of jobs each month.

(WTTW News)

If you were planning to buy a new home, should you do it before rates rise again?  What if you need to upgrade your car? And is it good to pay off your credit card completely, or should you carry a small balance to boost your credit score?