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Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Total employee compensation in the U.S. rose in the fourth quarter of last year and marked the highest year-over-year gain since 2008, Bloomberg reports. Private-sector wages and salaries also rose 2.8% in Q4, continuing the upward trend.

Why it matters: "The latest year-over-year increase in compensation indicates employers are making more generous offers as they compete for workers in the tightening labor market," Bloomberg's Sho Chandra writes.

The backdrop: U.S. businesses hired at a solid pace in January, AP reports, thanks to gains in service firms like hotels, restaurants, retail, education, and health businesses. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has remained at 4.1% over the last three months.

Go deeper

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

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