Times Staff and Wire Reports

Rate Hike Expected Despite Inflation Report: Employment costs posted the smallest increase on record last year, according to a government report that predicts that inflation will remain low. Even so, the Federal Reserve Board is expected to boost interest rates again today. The Labor Department said its employment cost index rose 3% in 1994, barely above the 2.7% increase in consumer prices. The advance slowed from a 3.5% gain in 1993 and was the smallest since the department began tracking labor costs in 1981.

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