Hiring on a roll, jobless rate 3.7%

Hiring on a roll, jobless rate 3.7%

Hiring on a roll, jobless rate 3.7%

At the same time, the jobless rate for white Americans edged down to 3.3 percent, their lowest level since December 1969.

United States hiring cooled in September by more than forecast, wage gains eased slightly and the jobless rate fell to a 48-year low, illustrating a tight labour market as well as the impact of Hurricane Florence.

Florence-related flooding and damage in North Carolina and SC was expected to influence the data, though on a smaller scale than the 2017 disruptions from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. A category that includes restaurants, hotels and casinos lost jobs for the first time since last September, when Hurricane Harvey had a similar effect.

With September's increase below the 0.5% gain recorded during the same time last year, that lowered the annual increase in wages to 2.8% from 2.9% in August, which was the biggest rise in more than nine years.

The labor market slowed substantially in September as employers added 134,000 jobs in a possible sign that worker shortages and US trade skirmishes are starting to take a bigger toll on hiring.

But despite the lower jobless rate, non-farm employers added just 134,000 net new positions, far weaker than analysts expected.

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

What's more, the government on Friday revised sharply up its estimate of hiring for July and August by 87,000 jobs.

This is only the tenth month since 1970 that the unemployment rate has been recorded below four per cent, with five of these months occurring in 2018, it said.

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The Trump administration says eliminating the trade deficit will put the economy on a sustainable path of faster growth, an argument that has been dismissed by many economists as flawed given constraints such as low productivity and slow population growth.

Exports of goods and services fell 0.8 percent to US$209.4 billion in August. On average, businesses added almost 200,000 jobs per month this year - well above the number needed to keep up with a growing population.

Friday's jobs report will probably keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise short-term interest rates, economists said, with another increase expected in December.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 185,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate falling one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent. Manufacturers expanded their payrolls by 18,000.

"There is little in this report to stop the Fed continuing to raise interest rates gradually".

Meanwhile, the labor market faces other challenges.

Many forecasters believe it will decline even more in the months to come.

Jobs in the transportation and warehousing sector grew by 23,800, while the construction industry added 23,000 jobs. In fact, the Fed's latest survey of national business conditions reflected concerns about labour shortages that are extending into non-skilled occupations as much as about tariffs.

Meanwhile, the U.S. trade deficit increased to a six-month high in August, up 6.4% to $53.2bn (£40.6bn). And Americans with only a high school diploma recorded their best unemployment rate since 2001.

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