Unemployment rate falls to 3.7 percent, lowest mark since 1969

Workers at a construction site in Revere

Pat Greenhouse Globe Staff Workers at a construction site in Revere

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

Employers added just 134,000 jobs last month, the fewest in a year, the Labor Department said Friday. The Labor Department said claims for South and North Carolina were affected by Hurricane Florence, which lashed the region in mid-September. A category that includes restaurants, hotels and casinos lost jobs for the first time since last September, when Hurricane Harvey exerted a similar effect.

Average hourly earnings showed a 2.8 percent increase since September 2017, meeting Wall Street expectations.

"That said, 134,000 jobs is far from a bad employment number and with August's being revised up by another 69,000, the labour market looks extremely healthy and provides further evidence of a booming economy".

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that the economy's outlook was "remarkably positive" and he believed it was on the cusp of a "historically rare" era of ultra-low unemployment and tame inflation. "There are plenty of new, high paying jobs available in our great and very vibrant economy", Trump said in a September 20 tweet.

The data for demographic groups came from a survey of households that is part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report.

The Trump administration says eliminating the trade deficit will put the economy on a sustainable path of faster growth, an argument that has been dismissed by many economists as flawed given constraints such as low productivity and slow population growth.

Gold prices were modestly higher ahead of the report and have managed to hold on to gains as the market sees little movement in initial reaction.

Many major employers announced pay increases in recent months, but those have yet to significantly move the needle nationally on average hourly earnings, which haven't topped 3 percent growth yet in this expansion.

Economists had expected job creation to slow but only to 184,000, even with the hurricane effect, from the 270,000 net new positions created in August.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 185,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate falling one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8%.

By almost any measure, today's labor market is the strongest since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at the career site Glassdoor, views the development "as the strongest labour market in a generation". Many of those jobs are likely to bounce back in the coming months.

Job gains were noted in healthcare, up 26,000, transportation and warehousing, up 24,000, and construction, up 23,000. In fact, the Fed's latest survey of national business conditions reflected concerns about labor shortages that are extending into non-skilled occupations as much as about tariffs. The United States and China had already imposed tariffs on $50bn worth of each other's goods.

The unemployment rate for those with a high school degree and no college attendance hit 3.7 per cent, the lowest since April 2001.

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