September shrug: Only 134K jobs added, but 49-year-low unemployment rate

Everything You Need to Know About the September Jobs Report

U.S. Unemployment Rate Drops To 3.7 Percent, Lowest In Nearly 50 Years

Figures issued Thursday showed applications for unemployment benefits fell in the week ended September 29 following a storm-related surge in the prior week, and claims are once again near the lowest level in nearly five decades.

If the rate keeps dropping, it will heighten two concerns: Has the economy soaked up almost all the people who want or are able to work?

According to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labour Statistics released Friday, the unemployment rate in September fell to 3.7%, its lowest level since December 1969, when Richard Nixon was president. With the unemployment rate so low, companies are facing intense pressure to boost pay to find the workers they need.

The last time the U.S. jobless rate was so low preceded more than a decade of economic pain tied to rising price pressures and efforts to rein them in.

Jake Robbins, from Premier Asset Management, said low unemployment was driving wages higher.

What's more, the government today revised sharply up its estimate of hiring for July and August by 87,000 jobs. The unemployment rate is forecast falling one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent, an 18-year low first hit in May.

"That said, 134,000 job is far from a awful employment number and with August's being revised up by another 69,000, the labour market looks extremely healthy and provides further evidence of a booming economy".

The government counts a person as employed if they are paid for any part of the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. Almost 300,000 workers told the BLS that bad weather kept them away from their jobs, most likely in industries like hospitality in which they're paid only if they show up.

The household survey showed 299,000 people reported staying at home in September because of the weather, while 1.489 million employees worked part-time because of the weather.

The annual rise in wages fell to 2.8 percent from 2.9 percent in August, which was the biggest advance in more than nine years.

Average hourly earnings are forecast to have increased 0.3 percent in September after leaping 0.4 percent in the prior month. Compared with a year ago, average hourly earnings were up 2.8%, slightly less than the 2.9% in August, owing to a tougher comparison.

As more slack is squeezed out of the labour market, economists expect annual wage growth to hit 3%. The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours, department figures showed.

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.

This comes despite USA president Donald Trump's tariffs on goods from countries including China and those of the European Union.

The trilateral trade agreement between the United States Canada and Mexico was salvaged in an 11th-hour deal on Sunday. In 2018 so far, manufacturing has added 278,000 jobs.

Retail payrolls dropped by 20,000 jobs last month, the figure also revealed. Leisure and hospitality positions were down 17,000.

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