Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Economy | By

United States adds just 134K jobs; unemployment a 49-year low, 3.7 pct

United States adds just 134K jobs; unemployment a 49-year low, 3.7 pct

Average hourly earnings rose at an annual rate of 2.8% in September, down from 2.9% in August.

Investors are betting that there's no reason why the Fed won't raise interest rates again in December and several more times next year too.

"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".

Geography, the skills gap, the opioid epidemic, more people going to college and a lack of family leave policies aimed at encouraging women to enter the labor force could all be contributing to the low rate. With September's increase below the 0.5 percent gain notched during the same period last year, that lowered the annual increase in wages to 2.8 percent from 2.9 percent in August, which was the biggest rise in more than nine years.

The unemployment rate is now at 3.7 percent, the lowest rate since December 1969, when the jobless rate was 3.5 percent.

Professional and business services, which includes a variety of industries, had the most new hires last month with job gains of 54,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

Employees temporarily left unable to work during natural disasters can be left off the government's monthly jobs survey, especially part time workers who receive no pay during the week of the survey, meaning figures can rebound in the month after a storm. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours. The unemployment rate for workers with less than a high school degree or just a high school degree fell by 0.2 percentage points, while the unemployment rate for workers with some college fell by 0.3 percentage points.

The economy does show some weak spots.


Following this report, stock futures were lower, but little-changed, while Treasury yields were still near their highs of the week with the 10-year Treasury sitting near 3.21% and the 30-year near 3.38%.

Average hourly earnings increased 0.3 percent in September after a similar rise in August.

The Economic Survey of 2016-17 showed the increase in the unemployment rate in the country from 4.9% in 2013-14 to 5%, with a decline of about 20,000 jobs by 2016. Pointing to the economy's health, the Fed last week raised its benchmark short-term rate and predicted that it would continue to tighten credit into 2020 to manage growth and inflation.

While surveys have shown manufacturers growing more concerned about an escalating trade war between the United States and China, it does not appear to have affected hiring.

Washington last month slapped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with Beijing retaliating with duties on $60 billion worth of US products.

Retail payrolls dropped by 20,000 jobs last month, the figure also revealed.

The US and China had already imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other's goods.

The trilateral trade agreement between the United States Canada and Mexico was salvaged in an 11th-hour deal on Sunday. The last time the USA jobless rate was so low preceded more than a decade of economic pain tied to rising price pressures and efforts to rein them in.

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