BOSTON (SHNS) – Wages and salaries in the Boston area rose at their fastest yearly clip since 2006, growing 6.1 percent for the 12-month period ending in March, the federal government reported Monday.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said wages and salaries nationwide increased 5 percent in the same period. The largest increase in wages and salaries, at 6.4 percent, was in the Phoenix area. Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 5.6 percent for the year ending in March in the combined statistical area that includes the Greater Boston area, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire, the bureau said, compared to an annual gain of 2.9 percent in compensation costs reported one year ago.

Nationally, total compensation costs rose 4.8 percent for the year ending in March. During the same 12-month period, inflation grew at a rate of 8.5 percent, the largest 12-month advance since December 1981, according to BLS. Boston is one of 15 U.S metro areas tracked by BLS.

Among those, over-the-year changes in compensation costs ranged from a high of 7.8 percent in the Seattle-Tacoma area to a low of 3.3 percent in the Atlanta area.