US unemployment falls to 3.7 percent - lowest since 1969


The unemployment rate for women has fallen to 3.6 percent, which is the lowest rate in 65 years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for September had decreased to 3.7 percent, the lowest rate since 1969.

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

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a near 49-year low last week, pointing to sustained labour market strength, which should continue to underpin economic growth. The September gain extended an 8½-year streak of monthly job growth. Bond yields spiked following the jobs report, with the benchmark 10-Year Treasury hitting 3.24 percent - its highest level in more than seven years. "If unemployment is low, it means more people are working".

The politically sensitive goods trade deficit with China surged 4.7 percent to a record high of US$38.6 billion.

The good news is the previous two months' gains were revised up by a combined 87,000 jobs, boosting the monthly average for the past year to a robust 211,400 jobs. But wage increases so far have been modest, something that puzzles economists but allows the Fed to move gradually.

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Yet those wage gains understate the real improvement in workers' paychecks, contends Peter Boockvar, chief strategist at Bleakley Advisory Group.

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

According to a Reuters survey of economists, NFPs nonfarm likely increased by 185,000 in September after surging 201,000 in August. The decline suggests that Blacks had a less tough time with finding work.

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. Online retail giant Amazon announced this week that it would raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for US employees starting in November. If those concerns mount, the Fed might raise interest rates more quickly than planned, which could bring the recovery to an end. That reversed the bulk of the increase from the prior week when claims were boosted by Hurricane Florence, which slammed North and SC in mid-September. That compares with 23 000 in August, though the September 2017 count of 1.47 million - following hurricanes Harvey and Irma - was the highest since 1996.

Numerous dislocated people will probably return to work. The next round of jobs data will come four days before Election Day, by which point most voters' minds may be made up. The data beat expectations as economists forecasted a drop to 3.8%. "Moreover, retail trade was down 20,000 which could be partly weather related as consumers and businesses hunkered down for the storm", wrote economists Joseph Song and Michelle Meyer of Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a note to clients.