U.S. job growth slows but unemployment rate falls to 3.7%

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Average hourly pay in September rose 2.8 percent from a year earlier.

Many economists have forecast that Hurricane Florence, which flooded parts of North and SC last month, depressed September's job growth by roughly 30,000. A total of 270,000 jobs were gained in August, up from 201,000. It further states that such people are "less likely to have formal work arrangements, and are therefore more likely to lack decent working conditions, adequate social security and "voice" through effective representation by trade unions and similar organizations".

United States construction companies hired 23,000 more workers last month after increasing payrolls by 26,000 jobs in August.

The historically low unemployment rate and relatively weak job growth number might indicate that employers are having an increasingly hard time adding positions because of the availability of workers.

What's more, the government today revised sharply up its estimate of hiring for July and August by 87,000 jobs. This is the lowest unemployment rate since December 1969.

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of the employee review site Glassdoor, says the salaries people have been reporting through their platform show stronger growth than official measures indicate.

The weakness in payrolls last month is not corroborated by other labor market data. 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. Bond yields rise when prices fall, and they spiked Wednesday to their highest level in over seven years after a strong private-payroll report from ADP and bullish comments from the Federal Reserve's chairman, Jerome Powell. However, the annualized increase in the average for the last three months (July, August, September) compared with the prior three months (April, May, June) is 3.4 percent.

Unemployment rates for African-Americans fell slightly from 6.3 percent to 6 percent. Pointing to the economy's health, the Fed last week raised its benchmark short-term rate and predicted that it would continue to tighten credit into 2020 to manage growth and inflation.

Amazon's announcement this week that it would increase its minimum hourly wage to $15 for all its US employees elevated the pressure on other employers to lift their wages as well. Overall government payrolls increased by 13,000. Manufacturers expanded their payrolls by 18,000.

In fact, the Fed's latest survey of national business conditions reflected concerns about labour shortages that are extending into non-skilled occupations as much as about tariffs. Almost 300,000 workers told the BLS that bad weather kept them away from their jobs, most likely in industries like hospitality in which they're paid only if they show up. The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as well as on roughly half of China's imports to the United Sates.

The trilateral trade agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico was salvaged in an 11th-hour deal on Sunday.

A rising number of companies are converting part-timers who have wanted more hours to full-time workers and are posting more full-time jobs.

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