Unemployment rate falls to 3.7 percent, lowest mark since 1969

Unemployment rate falls to 3.7 percent, lowest mark since 1969

It fell from 3.9 per cent in August to 3.7 per cent in September, the lowest since December 1969, the Department of Labor's employment situation report showed today.

Employers added just 134,000 jobs last month, the fewest in a year, the Labor Department said Friday.

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. Hurricane Florence likely weighed on job growth in September 2018, just as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma weighed on job growth in September 2017.

Hourly pay edged up 0.3 percent for the month, and is 2.8 percent higher than the same month previous year, a notch above inflation. Job growth is set to slow next year as an inability to find workers weighs on hiring. That has dinged business confidence and could curtail hiring.

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.

The U.S. central bank raised rates last week for the third time this year and removed the reference in its post-meeting statement to monetary policy remaining "accommodative". Retailers have begun scrambling to hire enough workers for what's expected to be a robust holiday shopping season. With unemployment so low, companies are facing intense pressure to raise pay to land workers.

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate held steady at 62.7 percent, while the number of unemployed people fell by 270,000 to six million, with the largest drop among adult women.

Americans have continued spending steadily and appear to be in generally stable financial shape.

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Trade contributed 1.2 percentage points to the economy's 4.2 percent annualized growth pace in the second quarter, mostly reflecting a front-loading of soybean exports to China before Beijing's retaliatory tariffs came into effect in early July. That trend suggests that a brighter economic outlook hasn't caused consumers to recklessly build up unsustainable debt.

In a separate report on Thursday, the Commerce Department said new orders for USA -made goods recorded their biggest increase in almost a year in August, but signs of weakness in business spending on equipment suggested manufacturing could be slowing.

An Institute for Supply Management survey of manufacturers published on Tuesday showed factory activity retreated from a 14-year high in September.

U.S. Treasury prices fell, with the yield on the 30-year bond rising to a four-year high.

Wages have grown 2.8 percent over the past year, down from last month's estimate of 2.9 percent. Sales of existing homes have fallen over the past year. Auto sales have also slumped. The decline in employment in the industry of leisure and hospitality can be attributed partially to the effects of Hurricane Florence. The United States and China had already imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other's goods. Most U.S. businesses will try to absorb the higher costs themselves, at least for now, economists say, and avoid layoffs.

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

The monthly report is regarded as the most important... This article is strictly for informational purposes only.

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