Unemployment Rate Falls To 49-Year Low Of 3.7 Percent

Workers at a construction site in Revere

Pat Greenhouse Globe Staff Workers at a construction site in Revere

The US unemployment rate in September fell to 3.7%, its lowest level since December 1969.

The Labor Department said Hurricane Florence may have impacted jobs results, with leisure and hospitality employment down slightly after trending upwards over the last several months.

One of the main factors in the dip in the vacancies was likely to be Hurricane Florence, which struck North and SC at the beginning of September, closing thousands of businesses.

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With September's increase below the 0.5 per cent gain notched during the same period last year, the annual rise in wages fell to 2.8 per cent from 2.9 per cent in August, which was the biggest advance in more than nine years. "If unemployment is low, it means more people are working". Service providers increased payrolls by 75 000 workers, the lowest in a year, as retail also showed a 20 000 decline. The net jobs created in July and August were revised sharply upward by a combined 87,000 - offsetting September's weaker showing. About 1.5 million employees worked part-time because of the weather last month.

For now, consumers, business executives and most economists remain optimistic. That was not expected to move the needle on last month's wage number but served as a key anecdote on the pressure companies were under - politically and from a tight labour market - to raise wages. Job growth has averaged 208,000 per month so far in 2018, up from 182,000 per month previous year. According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 185,000 in September after surging 201,000 in August. The unemployment rate is forecast falling 1/10th pt to 3.8%, an 18-year low 1st hit in May. This is a bit slower than the 2.9 percent year-over-year wage growth in August, but competition for workers is pushing up pay, consistent with the findings from PNC's semiannual small business survey, released earlier this week. That category saw an 18 200 decrease in payrolls, according to the report.

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at the career site Glassdoor, views the development "as the strongest labour market in a generation". The next round of jobs data will come four days before Election Day, by which point most voters' minds may be made up. Health care and transportation and warehousing have also continued their strong gains, adding 26,000 and 24,000 jobs respectively in September. 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.

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Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the overall trade deficit swelling to US$53.5 billion 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.

"Growth in imports likely will remain solid in coming quarters as long as growth in domestic demand remains buoyant", said Jay Bryson, global economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. The unemployment rate for Hispanics has fallen to 4.5 percent, the lowest ever on record.

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