Labor Dept.: Unemployment, job growth down in September

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Job growth increased in the household survey (different from the survey of employers) by a large 420,000 in September, while the labor force grew by 150,000. The unemployment rate for women has fallen to 3.6 percent, which is the lowest rate in 65 years. Job growth has averaged 208,000 per month so far in 2018, up from 182,000 per month past year.

The U.S. 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 dollar and Treasury yields fluctuated after the report, with the 10-year rate briefly touching a fresh seven-year high.

"There is little in this report to stop the Fed continuing to raise interest rates gradually". Americans are confident about the economic outlook, buoyed by the job gains and signs of higher pay. "It's going to reinforce the Fed's path for raising rates". Data-collection rates were within normal ranges for both surveys. If more people start looking - and don't immediately find a job - the government will count them as unemployed.

Despite newly-imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, manufacturing added another 18,000 jobs. The Labor Department said claims for South and North Carolina were affected by Hurricane Florence, which lashed the region in mid-September.

"Every month for the past year, the.wage data releases have continued to demonstrate that workers simply aren't getting ahead", Ryan Nunn and Jay Shambaugh of the Brookings Institute, a think tank, said in a report out this week.

Yet those wage gains understate the real improvement in workers' paychecks, contends Peter Boockvar, chief strategist at Bleakley Advisory Group. About 1.5 million employees worked part-time because of the weather last month.

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Applications fell to 202,000 during the week ended 15 September, which was the lowest level since November 1969.

Revisions added a total of 87 000 jobs to payrolls in the previous two months, according to the figures, resulting in a three-month average of 190 000. The data beat expectations as economists forecasted a drop to 3.8%. That's consistent with other reports showing strength in such activity. Retail payrolls dropped by 20,000 jobs in September.

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

Private employment rose by 121 000, compared with a median estimate of 180 000. "The standard measures just don't reflect those increases well, if at all". That's the result of higher hourly wages and hours worked. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent over the month, and were up 2.8 percent from one year earlier. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours in September.

Even so, some experts say investors shouldn't be concerned about rising wages and inflation forcing the Federal Reserve to tighten more aggressively. And if it has, will a shortage of workers compel businesses to raise pay quickly and sharply? "While that annual rate is a tick lower than the prior month, there is a soft monthly print falling out of the calculation next month and as such wage growth could soon break above 3% for the first time".

The U-6, or underemployment rate, rose to 7.5% from 7.4%.

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