Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

USA employers add 157,000 jobs, jobless rate slips to 3.9 percent

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Lindsey Cook | 05 August, 2018, 22:40

July wasn't a stellar month for hiring in the USA healthcare sector, with fewer jobs added in ambulatory care, hospitals and nursing facilities compared with a month earlier.

■ 157,000 jobs were added last month. The results fell short of the forecasts of analysts, who expected 190,000 jobs to be created during the month. In the last 12 months, factories have added 327,000 jobs. July's slowdown in hiring reflected a loss of 10,800 education services jobs.

As we move into Q3, expect this combination of job gains and moderate gains in hourly earnings to increase personal incomes that will support continued solid gains in consumer spending.

Economists will be watching to see whether these industries rebound later in the year. "Thus, either the unemployment rate isn't adequately capturing the true level of slack in the labor market, or wage pressures are likely to move down the pipeline sooner than later".

Companies say they are struggling to find workers, with job openings higher than the number of unemployed for the first time in decades.

"House price appreciation has exceeded wage growth for six years, so any signal that wage growth may be closing the gap is good news", said Fleming. Wage growth has been stuck around that level for two years.

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There was also healthy job creation in the health care and social services sector, which increased its payrolls by 34,000. The jobless rates for adult women (3.7%), teenagers (13.1%), Blacks (6.6%), Asians (3.1%), and Hispanics (4.5%) showed little or no change over the month.

The unemployment rate in the United States dropped to 3.9% in July from 4% in June. The only time in the recorded history the rate was lower was in the 1960s.

The last time the US economy had such low unemployment in the late 1990s, wage growth was substantially higher. The annual increase in wages was unchanged at 2.7 percent in July. Mortgage rates have also increased in the past year, lifting monthly payments and making many homes even less affordable. Not since August 2001 have so many associate degree-holders and college dropouts held jobs in the labor force.

President Trump and Republicans have been trumpeting the stronger wage growth as a sign that their policies, particularly the large tax cuts that took effect on January 1, are working. "Nearly 3.9 million new jobs have been created since President Trump took office, owed to the tax cuts, the deregulation and the push for better trade deals". The value of USA exports slid 0.7% to $213.8 billion; imports rose 0.6% to $260.2 billion, led by increases in medicine and crude oil. That has puzzled Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and many economists.

Expectations were for the economy to add 193,000 jobs with the unemployment rate falling to 3.9%.

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