US adds robust 250,000 jobs; pay growth fastest since 2009

Daniel Fowler
November 4, 2018

Overall, the economy has added 4.5 million jobs since the election of President Trump in November 2016.

Meanwhile, Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump continues her work to bridge the gap between a historic number of job openings and necessary skill sets for workers.

USA employers added a stellar 250,000 jobs last month and raised average pay by the most in almost a decade.

There were also big gains in manufacturing, construction and professional and business services payrolls.

The October US jobs report has rebounded sharply (250,000) from the "soft" September figure of 118,000, while the market was expecting something around the 200,000-mark.

With the unemployment rate so low, many economists have expected hiring to decline as businesses face a dwindling supply of unemployed people. Michael had "no discernible effect" on national employment and unemployment estimates for October, the Labor Department said.

Average hourly earnings rose five cents, or 0.2 per cent, in October after advancing 0.3 per cent in September.

Inc. last month lifted pay for it lowest-earning employees to $15 an hour. But better late than never, and stronger wage gains might be around the corner. Separate Labor Department data released earlier this week showed that salaries in the third quarter were, on average, 2.9 percent higher than last year's. Both hourly and weekly earnings are rising faster than inflation, which rose by 2.0 percent using the Personal Consumption Expenses (PCE)-the Federal Reserve's preferred measure, because it is so broad-in the most recent data from September. Average monthly hiring this year is above the pace of 2017. "Just out: 3.7% Unemployment is the lowest number since 1969!" But one thing that could keep inflation contained even as wages rise is the dominance of large businesses in the US economy.

With relatively few unemployed Americans looking for work, employers are increasingly being forced to bid up wages to poach workers from other employers or retain the ones they have. Thanks to the hurricanes last month and at this same time previous year, some of the wage growth could amount statistical noise, some experts think.

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Some analysts have tied rising pay to moves by 18 states to increase their minimum wages at the start of the year. That is seen supporting the economy through at least early 2019 when gross domestic product is expected to significantly slow as the stimulus from the White House's USD1.5 trillion tax cut package fades. The prime-age employment-to-population ratio, which looks at the share of the civilian non-institutional population who are employed, increased this month by 0.3 p.p. among men to 86.2 percent, and by 0.5 p.p. among women to 73.4 percent.

Retail payrolls probably remained weak, weighed down by layoffs related to Steinhoff's Mattress Firm bankruptcy as well as some store closures by Sears Holdings Corp.

If individual workers don't produce more, it is hard for employers to justify pay increases that exceed price increases. Jobs in the sector have been increasing despite weakness in the housing market.

The October jobs report offers "another reminder of the labor market's persistent strength even as the stock market has swerved down in recent weeks", the Times said.

Industries adding jobs in October included healthcare (36,000 job additions); manufacturing (32,000); construction (30,000); and transportation (25,000).

Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett will join FOX Business' Stuart Varney at 9:30 a.m. ET for a full analysis of the latest data and what it means for USA workers and the economy.

So far, manufacturing hiring does not appear to have been affected by the Trump administration's protectionist trade policy, which has contributed to capacity constraints at factories.

The United States is locked in a bitter trade war with China that has led to tit-for-tat tariffs.

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