USA adds 250000 jobs in October, unemployment rate steady

Jeannie Matthews
November 5, 2018

The economy brushed past Hurricane Michael, adding 250,000 net new positions in October and handily overshooting forecasts, while salaries rose at the fastest pace in almost a decade, the Labor Department said.

Employment in professional and business services, which has been Arkansas' strongest sector, continued to trend up nationally with 35,000 job adds in October and 516,000 for the year.

Friday's employment report from the government pointed to a consistently robust job market that shows no sign of flagging even with the economy in its 10th year of expansion. This would boost the annual increase in the wages to 3.1 percent, the biggest gain since April 2009, from 2.8 percent in September.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 per cent from the prior month, also matching analyst projections, following a 0.3 percent gain, the report showed.

The country now has 7.1 million job openings, a record high, the Labor Department announced Tuesday. "We saw significant gains across all industries with trade and leisure and hospitality leading the way". The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for an increase of 200,000 jobs.

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent, matching a 17-year low hit in August.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics said job gains occurred in healthcare, manufacturing, construction and transportation and warehousing.

The October wage figures are the latest in a string of positive data indicating that workers' paychecks are-finally-getting fatter. "Just out: 3.7% Unemployment is the lowest number since 1969!"

Wages in the USA grew at their fastest pace for nine years last month, according to the latest official figures. The measure includes part-time workers wanting a full-time job and people who are not actively looking for work. But economists said it's still encouraging, as the pay increase remains well above the inflation rate, meaning that workers' pay is actually raising their standard of living. An influx of new job-seekers increased the proportion of Americans with jobs to its highest level since 2009. PNC Bank predicts wage growth to average 3.3 percent next year, bringing it on par with 2007. Americans increased their spending by 4 percent in the July-September quarter, the biggest acceleration in almost four years.

"Today's jobs report is a landmark in the long recovery since the Great Recession, showing the power of a tight labor market to raise pay for American workers if allowed to run hot for a sufficiently long time", said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at the job website Glassdoor.com. There are also signs that pay hikes are taking hold more firmly: Amazon.com Inc. just raised its minimum hourly wage to $15 for US employees.

Inflation has also increased in the past year, eroding some of the value of that increase. And in January, the minimum wage will increase in 18 states. "And if all businesses do that at the same time, that's inflation", Adams said.

Jobs growth in the private sector was particularly strong in September, according to ADP, the US's largest payroll processor. "That translates into more consumer consumption and a lovely picture in terms of growing the economy into next year". It doesn't mean companies have to pass on higher wage costs to consumers. "I know what kind of work it takes to earn more money, and it's really paying off".

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