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United States unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 1969

07 October, 2018, 18:14 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • Modal Trigger					
				AP

The Labor Department said it was "impossible to quantify" the hurricane's net effect on employment.

The historically low unemployment rate and relatively weak job growth number might indicate that employers are having an increasingly hard time adding positions because of the availability of workers.

Consumers and businesses were the most confident they have been in years with stock market indexes near record highs, it added. Data for July was revised to show the trade deficit rising to US$50.0 billion, instead of the previously reported US$50.1 billion.

Friday's jobs report will probably keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise short-term interest rates, economists said, with another increase expected in December.

According to the Commerce Department's most recent data, consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the US economy, slowed down slightly in August, while the savings rate held steady at 6.6 percent.

Florence-related flooding and damage in North Carolina and SC was expected to influence the data, though on a smaller scale than the 2017 disruptions from hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

President Donald Trump's trade fights could also weigh on the economy, though the effect on hiring won't likely be felt until next year, economists say. With unemployment so low, companies are facing intense pressure to raise pay to land workers.

If more people start looking - and don't immediately find a job - the government will count them as unemployed. That largely offsets the weak September showing.

The unemployment rate in the USA has dipped to its lowest level since 1969, with an official data putting the figure at 3.7 per cent for the month of September.

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Many major employers announced pay increases in recent months, but those have yet to significantly move the needle nationally on average hourly earnings, which haven't topped 3 percent growth yet in this expansion.

Average hourly earnings rose at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in September, down from 2.9 percent in August.

Wage growth remains sufficient to keep inflation around the Fed's 2% target. Economist Justin Wolfers said September's data pushes up annnualized wage growth to a healthy 3.8%.

The rate remained unchanged in September at 62.7 percent of eligible workers in the workforce, down from a pre-recession rate of 66 percent.

In fact, the Fed's latest survey of national business conditions reflected concerns about labor shortages that are extending into non-skilled occupations as much as about tariffs.

Washington last month slapped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with Beijing retaliating with duties on $60 billion worth of United States products. The United States and China had already imposed tariffs on $50bn worth of each other's goods.

In September, professional and business services grew by 54,000, transportation and warehousing jobs by almost 24,000, construction by 23,000, manufacturing by 18,000 and health care by almost 30,000.

Economists had estimated 185,000 new jobs were created last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Last month, employment in the leisure and hospitality sector fell by 17,000 jobs, the first drop since September 2017. This suggests that the tax cuts that took effect this year are boosting job opportunities.

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