5 things to watch for in Friday's monthly United States jobs report

Adjust Comment Print

The unemployment rate in the U.S. fell to 3.7 per cent in September, the lowest since December 1969, when hundreds of thousands of working-age Americans were serving in Vietnam, according to a new report by the Labour Department.

The Commerce Department also said August orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, which are seen as a measure of business spending plans, fell 0.9 percent instead of declining 0.5 percent as reported last month.

The US unemployment rate fell to a 48-year low in September even after Hurricane Florence kept many Americans away from work.

The US economy needs to create roughly 120,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.

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


"For years now we have continued to cross fingers and say more substantial wage growth soon", said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com senior economic analyst.

But the USA unemployment rate fell to near a 49-year low of 3.7%, pointing to a further tightening in labour market conditions.

The U-6, or underemployment rate, rose to 7.5% from 7.4%. That reversed the increase from the prior week when claims were boosted by Hurricane Florence, which slammed North and SC in mid-September. "I would view this as a full-employment jobs report", Alan Krueger, a Princeton University economics professor and former head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under Barack Obama, said on Bloomberg Television.

Both economists predict the US Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates well into 2019, as better-paid US workers spend more and increase inflationary pressures. So far this year, monthly job growth has averaged 208,000, compared with 182,000 last year.

Some economists believed Hurricane Florence also may have dampened payroll gains last month. The strength of that gain, if it can be sustained, would suggest that the low unemployment rate is pressuring more companies to raise pay in order to attract and keep workers.


Following this report, stock futures were lower, but little-changed, while Treasury yields were still near their highs of the week with the 10-year Treasury sitting near 3.21% and the 30-year near 3.38%.

The Black unemployment rate under Trump has been largely a source of concern, with many African Americans anxious about increases or stagnant immobilization when it comes to joblessness.

Average US hourly earnings increased eight cents, or 0.3%, in September after rising 0.3% in the previous month.

The annual rise in wages fell to 2.8 percent from 2.9 percent in August, which was the biggest advance in more than nine years.

Wage growth remains sufficient to keep inflation around the Fed's 2 percent target.


The tightening of the labor market is leading to a more visible acceleration in wages. Amazon responded this week by raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Comments