United States unemployment falls to lowest rate in 48 years


The rate remained unchanged in September at 62.7 percent of eligible workers in the workforce, down from a pre-recession rate of 66 percent.

Unemployment among African Americans declined three-tenths of a percent to 6 percent, close to the record low of 5.9 percent set in May. Claims fell to 202,000 during the week ended September 15, which was the lowest level since November 1969.

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.

In reporting September's employment figures, the government revised sharply upward its estimate of hiring for July and August.

Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, predicted that the jobless rate will fall as low as 3.25 percent by this time next year, strengthening the case for the US Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said 134,000 jobs were created in September, economists were expecting to see job gains of around 185,000. September's storm and catastrophic flooding in the Carolinas likely preventing some businesses from bringing new workers on, and some people from getting to their first day on the job.

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.

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The modest job gains came after private payrolls firm ADP said hiring surged 230,000 in the month, but the two reports often diverge since they calculate employment differently. That was not expected to move the needle on last month's wage number but served as a key anecdote on the pressure companies were under - politically and from a tight labour market - to raise wages. Americans are confident about the economic outlook, buoyed by the job gains and signs of higher pay.

Average hourly earnings rose at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in September, down from 2.9 percent in August. Wage growth entered this year at 2.9% in January and remained the same last month on a year-over-year basis. Online retail giant Amazon announced this week that it would raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for USA employees starting in November.

One positive note: "It seems it's easier to find a job once you've decided that that is an option that is on the table", Zip Recruiter chief economist Cathy Barrera said. "The standard measures just don't reflect those increases well, if at all".

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.

From the low point in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the number with jobs has increased by nearly 20 million.

Details across industries showed construction payrolls rose by 23 000 and manufacturing added 18 000 jobs.