U.S. Unemployment Rate Drops To 3.7 Percent, Lowest In Nearly 50 Years
08 October, 2018, 06:58
These are the pocketbook issues that actually make a difference in the lives of voters. Over the last three months, job gains have averaged 190,000 per month. Retail payrolls dropped by 20,000 jobs in September.
"The momentum in the labor market remains strong and we expect the unemploymentrate to continue to decline", said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in NY. For close to two-thirds of the U.S. population, this is the lowest unemployment rate in their lifetime.
Powell said more wage growth is "quite welcome" and the Fed isn't anxious yet about higher pay causing inflation.
The drop of two-tenths of a per centage point in the unemployment rate from 3.9 per cent in August pushed it to levels last seen in December 1969 and matched the Fed's forecast of 3.7 per cent by the end of this year.
Following Friday's release Michael Pearce, senior USA economist at Capital Economics, said the report is likely to affirm the Fed's plans to continue raising interest rates gradually, adding that wage is now on track to climb above 3% by the end of 2018.
The economy does show some weak spots. The decline in employment in the industry of leisure and hospitality can be attributed partially to the effects of Hurricane Florence.
Teenagers, less-educated workers and disabled Americans have also made progress in recent months and anecdotal reports suggest that companies were becoming more willing to hire people with criminal records or to waive drug-testing requirements.
This week, Amazon announced that it will raise the minimum wage for all US workers to $15 per hour, starting in November.
The average workweek for all private employees was unchanged at 34.5 hours.
"Businesses of all sizes are indicating they are doing whatever they can to keep their workers", said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. However, the so-called real unemployment rate, which factors in discouraged workers who take part-time jobs for economic reasons, climbed to 7.5 percent. "The standard measures just don't reflect those increases well, if at all".
Manufacturers expanded their payrolls by 18,000. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.
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.
Economists had expected job creation to slow but only to 184,000, even with the hurricane effect, from the 270,000 net new positions created in August. President Donald Trump's administration has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as well as on roughly half of China's imports to the United States.
Imports of goods and services increased 0.6 percent to a record US$262.7 billion in August.
In addition, the GDP grew an estimated 4.2 percent in the second quarter, claims of unemployment insurance are the lowest since the 1960s, middle-class income is highest on record (adjusted for inflation), and small business optimism has hit one record after another since Trump's election. Many of those jobs are likely to bounce back in the coming months.
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