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Unemployment Rate Falls 3.7%, a 49-Year Low

Unemployment Rate Falls 3.7%, a 49-Year Low

This is the sixth straight month the unemployment rate has been at or below four percent, also the best in a half century.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September - the lowest level since December 1969 - signaling how the longest streak of hiring on record has put millions of Americans back to work.

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.7 percent in September, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 270,000 to 6.0 million. Black and Hispanic unemployment rates continue to hover near record lows.

There were fewer jobs, however, added to the US economy in September than analysts expected. department figures showed about 134,000 new jobs for September - well below the 185,000 anticipated by experts. The Labor Department said claims for South and North Carolina were affected by Hurricane Florence, which lashed the region in mid-September.

Even with unemployment at a historic low, average hourly pay increased just 2.8 percent from a year earlier, one tick below the yearly gain in August.

The average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours, today's figures show. Amazon this week raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

If the rate keeps dropping, it will heighten two concerns: Has the economy soaked up almost all the people who want or are able to work?

If people who aren't working are encouraged by steady hiring and pay increases to begin looking for a job, their influx could prevent unemployment from falling further. The number of unemployed people in the USA shrank by 270,000 to 6 million.




Still, if the prime-age workers increasingly enter the job market, their numbers could expand the workforce a bit and help accelerate economic growth.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 134,000 jobs last month, the fewest in a year, as the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors shed employment. The data come a day after a selloff in government bonds renewed concerns about rising inflation and whether the Federal Reserve will have to lift borrowing costs at a faster pace in order to keep the US economy from overheating.

Some economists say wage growth might be understated amid anecdotal evidence that worker shortages as a result of the tightening labor market were forcing companies to raise compensation. Overall government payrolls increased by 13,000. A category that includes restaurants, hotels and casinos lost jobs for the first time since last September, when Hurricane Harvey had a similar effect.

Job gains were noted in healthcare, up 26,000, transportation and warehousing, up 24,000, and construction, up 23,000.

Despite newly-imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, manufacturing added another 18,000 jobs.

Washington last month slapped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with Beijing retaliating with duties on $60bn worth of U.S. products.

This comes despite United States president Donald Trump's tariffs on goods from countries including China and those of the European Union.

Meanwhile, the USA trade deficit increased to a six-month high in August, up 6.4% to $53.2bn (£40.6bn). The United States has since struck a trade deal with Canada and Mexico.


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