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U.S. job growth surges, unemployment rate falls to 6.1 percent

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* Nonfarm payrolls increase 288,000 in June

* Unemployment rate falls to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent

* Average hourly earnings up 6 cents, workweek steady

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By Lucia Mutikani

Reuters

WASHINGTON – U.S. employment growth jumped in June and the unemployment rate declined to near a six-year low of 6.1 percent, effectively dispelling fears about the economy's health and underscoring its momentum heading into the second half of 2014.

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