Thursday, 18 October, 2018

US unemployment falls to 48-year low in September

The American Economy Added Just 134,000 Jobs in September Unemployment Drops to Lowest Level Since 1969		AFP5 Oct 2018 The American Economy Added Just 134,000 Jobs in September Unemployment Drops to Lowest Level Since 1969 AFP5 Oct 2018
Elsie Buchanan | 07 October, 2018, 09:47

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. So far this year, monthly job growth has averaged 208,000, up from a pace of 182,000 for all of last year.

A month ahead of hard-fought congressional elections, the result was sure to delight US President Donald Trump, who has eagerly taken credit for America's extended run of economic expansion even as his Republican party faces a possible rebuke from disenchanted voters. Most U.S. businesses will try to absorb the higher costs themselves, at least for now, and avoid any layoffs.

Still, should the tariffs remain fully in effect a year from now, roughly 300,000 jobs could be lost by then, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.

The claims data has no bearing on September's employment report, which is scheduled for release on Friday. Those numbers are not adjusted for inflation, which has been eating into wage gains over the past several months as the Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates in response to a strengthening economy.

With unemployment so low, companies are facing intense pressure to raise pay to land workers. And women were much less likely to work.

The number of unemployed people who have given up looking for jobs because they believe that none are available was the same as it was in September 2017.

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Government data for September also shows Hispanic unemployment dropped to 4.5 percent, matching the record low of July. And the rising presence of prime-age people in the job market has been offset by the steady retirements of older members of the vast baby boom generation.

"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". Over the course of this year, recruiters have been more open to job candidates they may before have overlooked, such as those with criminal histories.

The increase of part-time rather than full-time workers could be keeping the wages down.

More hours, of course, mean larger weekly paychecks.

Average hourly earnings rose by 0.3% in September, as expected, and the same as the preceding month. 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. Retailers have begun scrambling to hire enough workers for what's expected to be a robust holiday shopping season. Consumer prices, for example, rose 2.7 percent in August from 12 months earlier. The Labor Department said claims for South and North Carolina were affected by Hurricane Florence, which lashed the region in mid-September. In particular, hiring might have been constrained in construction and restaurants because the storm likely closed construction work sites and restaurants.

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