From NY Post: The unemployment rate sank to 3.7 percent in September — a 49-year low — despite job growth that slowed sharply last month as Hurricane Florence depressed restaurant and retail payrolls, the feds said Friday.
The Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment report also showed a steady rise in wages, suggesting moderate inflation pressures, which could ease concerns about the economy overheating and keep the Federal Reserve on a path of gradual interest rate increases.
President Trump hailed the low unemployment rate in a Twitter post. “Just out: 3.7% Unemployment is the lowest number since 1969!” he wrote.
Economists also welcomed the news. “The acceleration in job gains this year is extraordinary in an environment where firms are having great difficulty finding qualified candidates,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 134,000 jobs last month, the fewest in a year, as the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors shed employment. But data for July and August were revised to show 87,000 more jobs added than previously reported.
The economy needs to create roughly 120,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population. “The weaker gain in payrolls in September may partly reflect some hit from Hurricane Florence,” said Michael Pearce, senior economist at Capital Economics in New York.
“There is little in this report to stop the Fed continuing to raise interest rates gradually.”
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 percent.
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.
The US central bank raised rates last week for the third time this year and removed the reference in its post-meeting statement to monetary policy remaining “accommodative.”
The Labor Department said it was possible that Hurricane Florence, which lashed South and North Carolina in mid-September, could have affected employment in some industries. It said it was impossible to quantify the net effect on employment.
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