Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest in 18 Years, 2nd Lowest Since 1960s

US Unemployment Drops To 3.9 Percent; Jobs Report Shows Gain Of 164000 Jobs

Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.9 Percent

Employers added about 164,000 jobs in April, up from last month's revised number of 135,000 jobs.

This number has been declining in recent years-a hint that more people who had given up on finding a job are now trying again and succeeding.

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This was announced by the Bureau of labor statistics under the US Department of labor. Employers nationwide report the pool of available workers is drying up, forcing many to raise wages to attract qualified candidates, which raises concerns about inflation. They clocked in at just 2.6 percent over last year's levels (below the expected 2.7 percent print). The average work week was unchanged at 34.1 hours. Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers rose only 0.1 percent, and they have been up 2.6 percent over the previous year. Some analysts warn that wage growth in the USA remains relatively weak, suggesting that the United States labor market may be less healthy than it appears. But even if you look at the last three years, the relationship is still a lot weaker than it used to be - the unemployment rate accounts for only about 30 percent of wage growth over that time.

In April, average earnings for nonfarm payroll rose by four cents to $26.84.

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Job growth was less than expected in April and about a quarter of a million unemployed people gave up looking for work altogether. Employment in manufacturing increased by 24,000 in April. Although there have been ups and downs over that same period, the employment figures have remained between 1.13 million and 1.14 million since December 2016. That includes almost 800,000 jobs added since the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. For investors, the key point is that most Fed policymakers still seem confident that inflation pressures won't lag too far behind wage pressures, as businesses pass along a portion of their higher wage bills. This 91-month expansion has made it the longest span of job growth on record.

Overall, the job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care, and mining categories. Economists at the Federal Reserve reportedly show a forecast of 3.8 percent by the end of 2018, which is considered to be near "full employment".

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There are nearly 95 million people not in the workforce, including those over the age of 16 who don't work and are now not looking for work, mostly because they study, are ill, retired, or homemakers (pdf). Job growth in March was also disappointing. The report also put current black unemployment in April 83% above the rate for whites in the same month. An acceleration could force Fed officials to raise rates more aggressively, which would raise the cost of vehicle loans and credit card debt.

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