September jobs report shows unemployment hitting 49-year low

US unemployment falls to lowest rate in 48 years despite Hurricane Florence

Unemployment fell to a 48-year-low of 3.7 percent last month from 3.9 percent, an unusually large drop, according to the Labor Department's closely-watched monthly jobs report.

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.

The low unemployment rate provided more evidence of a booming economy, which is now in a record eight-year streak of job gains. Figures issued Thursday showed applications for unemployment benefits fell in the week ended September 29 following a storm-related surge in the prior week, and claims are once again near the lowest level in nearly five decades. The number of unemployed people in the USA shrank by 270,000 to 6 million.

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 Labor Department reported Friday that the rate edged down from 3.9 percent the month before as employers added 134,000 jobs - a figure that was probably depressed by the effects of Hurricane Florence in the South.

"Given the fact that the job market has been so strong for so long, there is an expectation that labour will begin to take more of the capital from corporate profits going forward", said Michael Arone, the chief investment strategist for the US SPDR business at State Street Global Advisors. The storm struck North and SC in the middle of September and closed thousands of businesses.

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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. On average, businesses added almost 200,000 jobs per month this year - well above the number needed to keep up with a growing population. It also showed the labour market continuing to tighten, perhaps eventually pressuring companies to pay workers more. But the two previous months' payrolls were revised up by a total of 87,000. Average weekly wages rose at an impressive 3.4 percent over past year.

Average earnings grew 2.8 percent year-over-year.

As more slack is squeezed out of the labour market, economists expect annual wage growth to hit 3%. Amazon this week raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

"Employers are finding it harder to recruit and having to pay more when they do", Mr Robbins said. Overall government payrolls increased by 13 000.

The unemployment rate leaves out workers who haven't sought a job in the past four weeks. However, there was an increase in the number of people working part-time who want full-time work.

In addition, the GDP grew an estimated 4.2 percent in the second quarter, claims of unemployment insurance are the lowest since the 1960s, middle-class income is highest on record (adjusted for inflation), and small business optimism has hit one record after another since Trump's election.

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