US adds 201000 jobs; unemployment stays at 3.9 percent

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings Mont. Thursday Sept. 6 2018

Higher than Expected Job Growth and Wage Gains in August Signal Economic Strength AP

The payroll gain ends a seven-year streak where the first reading for August has been below the median analyst estimate.

Job growth remained steady last month, and the economy has now added jobs for 95 consecutive months.

Other economists, though, have expected payroll growth to slow as employers increasingly struggle to find available workers now that the jobless rate has dipped below 4%. After revisions, the economy has seen average monthly gains of 196,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Yet most economists said they saw the pay increase as an encouraging sign that the low unemployment rate is compelling more employers to raise pay in order to compete successfully for workers.

The biggest job gains in August came from the healthcare and professional and business services sectors.

"The labour market looks great", said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies in NY.

Taken as a whole, the data points to a job market that remains resilient even after almost a decade of economic expansion and even with the threat of tariffs and counter-tariffs on imports and exports looming over many U.S. employers that rely on global trade. Mining added 6,000 new jobs.

American wages unexpectedly climbed in August by the most since the recession ended in 2009 and hiring rose by more than forecast, keeping the Federal Reserve on track to lift interest rates this month and making another hike in December more likely. The August figure has been revised upward in six of the past seven years.

Alberta gained 16,200 jobs last month, 11,000 of which were full time, for an overall increase of 0.7 per cent. The annual gain followed a 2.7% advance in July.

Employment at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores rebounded by 9,200 jobs in August after shedding 30,300 jobs in July related to the closing of all Toys-R-Us stores. On Friday morning, the USA government will release its employment report for the month of August.

US businesses added 204,000 jobs while federal, state and local governments lost 3,000. With job openings exceeding the number of people seeking work, and with initial jobless claims at their lowest level since 1969, the labor market is still largely in good shape. That gauge includes part-time workers who'd prefer a full-time position and people who want a job but aren't actively looking.

Wages picked up in August, with the annual wage growth increase moving up to 2.9 percent from August's 2.7 percent.

But a broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, fell one-tenth of percentage point to 7.4%, the lowest level since April 2001.

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