US unemployment falls to 50-year low of 3.5 pct in September

US unemployment falls to 50-year low of 3.5 pct in September

The record low unemployment rate has been rewritten six times since June 2018, when it hit 4.6 percent, breaking a record set in 2006.

Average hourly wages fell by a penny to $28.09, well below economists' expectations, putting an end to a year-long string of steady gains. And with data pointing to a reduction in labour-market slack, the unemployment rate seems to have fallen for all the right reasons. The unemployment rate for workers without high school diplomas fell to 4.8 per cent, the lowest level on records dating to 1992.

Still, a drop-off in the pace of hiring compared with a year ago points to rising uncertainty among employers about the job market and the economy in the face of President Donald Trump's numerous trade conflicts. Still, the numbers cap off a week of worrisome economic data that show the services sector, which makes up the bulk of US economic activity, growing at its slowest rate in at least three years. The economy grew at a 2.0 per cent pace in the second quarter, slowing from a 3.1 per cent rate in the January-March period.

Still, on the whole, "this is not that weak of a report, despite the ebbing in job growth", Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO, wrote in a note to clients.

Besides issuing the jobs data for September, the government on Friday also revised up its earlier estimates of the gains for July and August by a combined 45,000. But it would still be noticeably lower than last year's average monthly job growth of 225,000. The two-tenths of a percentage point drop in the unemployment rate from 3.7 per cent in August pushed it to its lowest level since December 1969.

President Donald Trump immediately cheered the news which comes as he faces an impeachment inquiry in Congress.

The job market has been among the most solid indicators in Trump's economy, steamrolling over skeptics with continued growth. "We believe it would have taken a much stronger number to convince Fed leadership that they have already taken out enough insurance against downside risks".

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The Black unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in September, matching the historic low of the previous month. As a result, the United States trade balance crept 1.6 per cent higher to $54.9 billion for the month, surpassing economists' expectations. Only 1,000 workers were hired last month for the 2020 Census.

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, declined to 6.9 per cent, the lowest level since December 2000, from 7.2 per cent in August.

Plus: "Wages are up by nearly 3%" for the year, noted President Trump, "a fantastic increase for everybody out there working".

The weakness in private payrolls in September bled into average hourly earnings, too. The retail industry lost 11,000 jobs. The sector is seen as having borne the brunt of the trade wars.

Government jobs also continued to rise, increasing by 22,000 in September after surging by 46,000 in August.

The high government hiring rate is reported to be due to increased state and local government recruitment.

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