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5 things to watch for in Friday's monthly United States jobs report
06 October 2018, 10:24 | Kelvin Horton
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The historically low USA unemploymentrate fell again during the month of September, but about 50,000 fewer jobs were added to the economy than experts predicted.
The unemployment rate has dropped to 3.7 percent, reaching the lowest level since December 1969, as the economy steams ahead.
So far this year, the average number of jobs created each month is 16 percent higher than last year. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 0.5 percentage point and 795,000, respectively.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the rate edged down from 3.9 percent the month before as employers added 134,000 jobs - a figure that was probably depressed by the effects of Hurricane Florence in the South.
That storm struck North and SC in mid-September and closed thousands of businesses.
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. Amazon responded this week by raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Today's jobs report will likely keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise short-term interest rates, economists said, with another rate hike expected at its meeting in December.
The participation rate, or share of working-age people in the labor force, was unchanged at 62.7 per cent. With the unemployment rate so low, companies are facing intense pressure to boost pay to find the workers they need.
Professional and business services remained the economy's strongest sector, with a cumulative 560,000 jobs added over the past year. On average, businesses added almost 200,000 jobs per month this year - well above the number needed to keep up with a growing population. "I'd expect a solid rebound in the next month", as other data indicate "it's a very strong labor market".
U.S. Treasury prices fell, with the yield on the 30-year bond rising to a four-year high.
Some economists say wage growth might be understated amid anecdotal evidence that worker shortages as a result of the tightening labor market were forcing companies to raise compensation. "The standard measures just don't reflect those increases well, if at all".
Among those worst affected were restaurants, hotels and casinos, which saw jobs lost for the first time since September 2017 - when Hurricane Harvey hit.
Manufacturers, which are more dependent on foreign markets than other industries, added 18,000 jobs last month, a sign that President Donald Trump's trade fight with China and other countries is having little effect on hiring.
Job gains were noted in healthcare, up 26,000, transportation and warehousing, up 24,000, and construction, up 23,000.
While surveys have shown manufacturers growing more concerned about an escalating trade war between the USA and China, that 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 USA products.
Meanwhile, the United States trade deficit increased to a six-month high in August, up 6.4% to $53.2bn (£40.6bn).
The politically sensitive goods trade deficit with China surged 4.7 percent to a record high of US$38.6 billion. Most U.S. businesses will try to absorb the higher costs themselves, at least for now, and avoid any layoffs.
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