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Unemployment rate drops to 3.7 percent - lowest since 1969

06 October 2018

But the more-inclusive "underemployment" rate (technically U6), ticked up to 7.5% from 7.4%.

According to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labour Statistics released Friday, the unemployment rate in September fell to 3.7%, its lowest level since December 1969, when Richard Nixon was president.

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. While that's still lower than what economists would expect with a rock-bottom unemployment rate, it's an improvement from the 2.0 percent growth seen at the start of this year.

One of the main factors was likely to be Hurricane Florence, which struck North and SC at the beginning of September, closing thousands of businesses. Average hourly earnings rose 2.8% over the year, slightly above the average over the past year but down from last month's increase. The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours, department figures showed. That's the result of higher hourly wages and hours worked. "There is little in this report to stop the Fed continuing to raise interest rates gradually".

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate held steady at 62.7 per cent, while the number of unemployed people fell by 2,70,000 to six million, with the largest drop among adult women.

But he said the very low unemployment rate also reflected an increase in the number not looking for work, who were not classified as unemployed.

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

Hourly pay edged up 0.3 per cent for the month, and is 2.8 per cent higher than the same month previous year, a notch above inflation. 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. Bond yields rise when prices fall, and they spiked Wednesday to their highest level in over seven years after a strong private-payroll report from ADP and bullish comments from the Federal Reserve's chairman, Jerome Powell. This is the lowest it has ever been, with the exception of May when it hit 5.9 percent. "The standard measures just don't reflect those increases well, if at all".

Retailers had the worst month for hiring, as the sector lost 20,000 jobs.

Washington last month slapped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with Beijing retaliating with duties on $60bn worth of USA products. The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as well as on roughly half of China's imports to the United Sates.

The trilateral trade agreement between the United States Canada and Mexico was salvaged in an 11th-hour deal on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the USA trade deficit increased to a six-month high in August, up 6.4% to $53.2bn (£40.6bn).

The politically sensitive goods trade deficit with China increased 4.7 percent to a record high of $38.6 billion. Most U.S. businesses will try to absorb the higher costs themselves, at least for now, and avoid any layoffs.

Unemployment rate drops to 3.7 percent - lowest since 1969