The economy brushed past Hurricane Michael, adding 250,000 net new positions in October and handily overshooting forecasts, while salaries rose at the fastest pace in almost a decade, the Labor Department said. In September the unemployment rate fell 3.7%, a 49-year low, and remained there in October.
The US economic engine brushed past last month's Hurricane Michael to continue its robust job creation while giving workers a big pay bump, new figures show today. That incorporates revised data for September, which saw an unusually low jobs figure thanks to Hurricane Florence.
In September wages were 3.1% higher than they were a year ago - the first time since April 2009 that wage growth has topped 3%. Neil Wilson, analyst at markets.com, said: "This reaffirms the view that the tighter labour market is starting to feed through to higher wages and will further strengthen the case for the Federal Reserve to maintain the current path of hikes".
Markets jumped immediately after the release of the report Friday but ended the day in the red, with the Dow Jones industrial average down nearly 110 points mainly on concerns that the U.S. There are a record 7.14 million open jobs. Meanwhile, the USA trade war with China poses a risk to further gains and companies may be slowing capital investment. In a separate report on Friday, the Commerce Department said the trade gap increased 1.3 per cent to $54.0 billion in September, widening for a fourth straight month. The Federal Reserve's preferred price measure rose 2 percent in September compared with a year earlier, slightly lower than the year-over-year increase in August.
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In the blue-collar focused manufacturing and construction sectors, some 32,000 and 30,000 jobs were added, respective.
Even so, October's increase suggests that after a decade of anemic growth, wage growth is picking up.
Wage gains, while also distorted to some extent last month by hurricane effects, are probably arriving at a new normal of 3 percent, according to economists. "Just out: 3.7% Unemployment is the lowest number since 1969!" But economists said it's still encouraging, as the pay increase remains well above the inflation rate, meaning that workers' pay is actually raising their standard of living.
The labor force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, rose to 62.9 percent last month from 62.7 percent in September.
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"We absolutely see employers getting more and more creative about ways to get people in", Frankiewicz said.
Americans boosted their spending by the most in almost four years in the July-September quarter.
"Over the past year, we have had the largest increase in average hourly earnings since 2009". And in January, the minimum wage will increase in 18 states. People are eager to enter or re-enter the labor force and the pace of hiring remains strong, while wages are growing, meaning more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans. "A bad idea", he said, adding that pay restrictions hurt small businesses.
Among economists, there was wider agreement that the jobs report pointed to strength in the United States economy, despite recent worries that weakness may be emerging in some sectors such as housing and trade.
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"The employment report should help calm some concerns that the economy is slowing more quickly than it really is, the economy is really in good shape", said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in Westchester, Pennsylvania. It doesn't mean companies have to pass on higher wage costs to consumers. But in recent months, it appears they have finally taken the step economists have long recommended: Pay more.