Monday, 18 November, 2019

USA unemployment rate steady at 3.7%; wages rise 0.4% | 6 September 2019

U.S. services sector suggests economy weathering trade storm US Services Sector Growth Accelerates; Private Payrolls Jump
Russell Knight | 10 September, 2019, 13:55

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that payrolls added 130,000 new jobs in August, marking the smallest increase in three months.

August's job figures were boosted by an increase in federal government employment, largely reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census.

Industries with the greatest gains included healthcare and financial services, which added 24,000 and 15,000 jobs respectively, the BLS reported.

The unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7% - the lowest rate in almost fifty years and slightly better than what economists expected.

US job growth slowed more than expected in August, with retail hiring declining for a seventh straight month, but strong wage gains should support consumer spending and keep the economy expanding moderately amid rising threats from trade tensions.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in August and accounted for 20.6% of the unemployed.

Also the labor participation rate - arguably the most important employment metric - ticked up 0.2 percent to 63.2 percent, matching its high point under Trump. With the US-China trade war and weakness overseas already weighing on the outlook and Treasury yields down sharply this year, calls may grow for the Fed to cut interest rates this month by a half point instead of a quarter point. Nominal average hourly earnings rose 3.2 percent over the past 12 months, marking the 13th straight month that year-over-year wage gains were at or above 3 percent.

Private-sector employment was up by 96,000 in August, the weakest increase in many months.

Restaurants added just 11,900 jobs in August, continuing a pattern of slow growth over the last four months.

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And in bad times, the unemployment rate for whites and black rises, but black unemployment typically remains around twice that of white employment. But the annual increase in wages is seen dipping to 3.1% from 3.2% in July as last year's surge falls out of the calculation. The anticipated job gains would be below the monthly average of 165,000 over the last seven months, but still above the roughly 100,000 per month needed to keep up with growth in the working age population. "There is some upside risk to our nonfarm payrolls growth forecast from potential early hiring of 2020 census workers".

Employment in federal government rose by 28,000 in total in August.

Manufacturing added just 3,000 jobs. When fewer people seek jobs, the unemployment rate often declines. Monthly job gains in professional and business services have averaged 34,000 thus far in 2019, below the average monthly gain of 47,000 in 2018.

Construction payrolls increased by 14,000 jobs last month after slipping by 2,000 in July.

Mining employment declined by 6,000.

The American economy continued to lose steam during the month of August - at least on the employment front.

While the EPOP for both prime-age men and women rose in August.

In another report on Thursday, the Labor Department said nonfarm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, increased at an unrevised 2.3% annualised rate in the last quarter.

Friday's jobs report also revised the employment gains in June and July, lowering them to 178,000 and 159,000 respectively.

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