Labor Dept.: Unemployment, job growth down in September


Labor Dept.: Unemployment, job growth down in September

Job applicants talked with representatives from Aldi, June 21, at a job fair hosted by Job News South Florida, in Sunrise, Fla.

The construction, transportation and health-care industries recorded some of the strongest hiring numbers in September, as the USA unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in 49 years.

"The weaker gain in payrolls in September may partly reflect some hit from Hurricane Florence", said Michael Pearce, senior USA economist at Capital Economics in NY.

Some economist have dismissed weakness in the employment numbers, saying the data was impacted by Hurricane Florence, which hit the east coast in mid-September. Most say it's a temporary dip, blaming the effects of Hurricane Florence, which battered and flooded the Carolinas in mid-September, during the time the jobs survey is conducted. A category that includes restaurants, hotels and casinos lost jobs for the first time since last September, when Hurricane Harvey exerted a similar effect. It also showed the labour market continuing to tighten, perhaps eventually pressuring companies to pay workers more. Manufacturers expanded their payrolls by 18,000.

The good news is the previous two months' gains were revised up by a combined 87,000 jobs, boosting the monthly average for the past year to a robust 211,400 jobs. According to the BLS, the average monthly gain in jobs for the past 12 months has been 201,000. Still, it extended an extraordinary 8½-year streak of monthly job growth, the longest on record.

Average hourly earnings rose by 0.3% in September, as expected, and the same as the preceding month. Many economists expect pay growth to accelerate in coming months. Amazon responded this week by raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

USA financial markets were little moved by the report. Investors have grown concerned about higher interest rates and the effect they might have on the economy and the stock market.

The storm likely reduced employment in the affected states, USA Today reported.

The Fed's hikes might be starting to bite.

Consumers, business executives and most economists remain optimistic. The rate fell 17,000 last month. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.

Americans have continued spending steadily and appear to be in generally stable financial shape.

The healthy economy hasn't only produced lots more jobs; it's also allowed people to work more hours.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said earlier this week 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.

While economists cheered the unemployment rate, only 134,000 jobs were created in September, which was well below the consensus prediction of 180,000.

Barrera said she has also seen data that show more people are going straight from not being in the labor force to being employed, bypassing the "unemployed" status altogether.



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