US adds just 134K jobs; unemployment a 49-year low, 3.7 pct
US adds just 134K jobs; unemployment a 49-year low, 3.7 pct
U.S. Unemployment Rate Drops To 3.7 Percent, Lowest In Nearly 50 Years
07 October, 2018, 09:48
Economists have forecast that the government will report that employers added a solid 184,000 jobs, according to the data provider FactSet, and that unemployment dipped from 3.9 percent to 3.8 percent, matching an 18-year low.
Newly released data by the Labor Department shows that USA employers added 134,000 jobs last month with hiring increases within construction, manufacturing and health care sectors.
One of the main factors was likely to be Hurricane Florence, which struck North and SC at the beginning of September, closing thousands of businesses.
The category that includes restaurants, hotels and casinos lost jobs for the first time since September 2017, when Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area, and retailers last month shed 20,000 jobs.
Average hourly earnings rose at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in September, down from 2.9 percent in August.
That higher pay is likely to trim corporate profit margins, however.
The dollar and Treasury yields fluctuated after the report, with the 10-year rate briefly touching a fresh seven-year high.
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Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that the economy's outlook was "remarkably positive" and he believed it was on the cusp of a "historically rare" era of ultra-low unemployment and tame inflation.
Economists will also be eyeing the all-important wage figures, as a tightening US labor market has pushed pay higher. Many of those jobs are likely to bounce back in the coming months. The Trump administration tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports - along with China's retaliation against USA imports - took effect last month and has hit many consumer goods. The U.S. central bank raised interest rates last week for the third time this year and removed the reference in its post-meeting statement to monetary policy remaining "accommodative". 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. Measures of consumer confidence are at or near their highest levels in 18 years.
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%.
Americans have continued spending steadily and appear to be in generally stable financial shape.
The economy does show some weak spots. It said it was impossible to quantify the net effect on employment. Auto sales have also slumped. President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as well as on roughly half of China's imports to the United Sates. Most U.S. businesses will try to absorb the higher costs themselves, at least for now, economists say, and avoid layoffs. This suggests that the tax cuts that took effect this year are boosting job opportunities.
Jobs in the transportation and warehousing sector grew by 23,800, while the construction industry added 23,000 jobs.
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