Economy

US job market looks solid 8 years after recession ended

US job market looks solid 8 years after recession ended

Because of the sluggish growth, businesses never had to scramble, and pay more, to add workers. The consensus expectation of economists is that the Labor Department will report that employers added 176,000 jobs, according to a survey by FactSet, a data provider.

The unemployment rate, which is calculated from a different survey, fell from 4.4% to 4.3%, lowest since May 2003, the Labor Department said Friday.

Restaurants and healthcare firms posted solid job gains. "For the near term, we believe that today's report does not meet the high bar required for the Fed to stand pat on the fed funds rate at its meeting later this month". Since January, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.5 percentage point, and the number of unemployed has decreased by 774,000. That number has been rising slowly over the past two years, an indication that more people in their prime working are optimistic enough to participate in the labor force. Of the 91 months since white unemployment hit that peak of 9.2 percent, black unemployment has been over 9.2 percent in 70 of them.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 5.2 million in May. It'll employ 70 workers. To some extent, that's also true of the U-6 rate, which looks at underemployment as well as unemployed, but still uses the workforce total as the denominator. March nonfarm payroll growth came down to 50,000 from 79.000.

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Combined with a downward revision of 29,000 for March, the economy now has averaged a gain of just 121,000 net new jobs in the last three months. Average monthly job growth so far this year is now 162,000, compared with 178,000 in 2016.

That's not rip-roaring growth, and barely qualifies as growth at all.

USA employers pulled back on hiring in May by adding only 138,000 jobs. Average hourly earnings were up by 2.5 percent from the previous year to $26.22, continuing a streak of relatively weak wage growth. Long-dated U.S. Treasury yields fell to almost seven-month lows, and short-dated yields touched their lowest in more than two weeks.

Hiring fell for the fourth straight month among traditional retailers that continue to lose ground to Internet rivals.

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"The loss of manufacturing jobs in May is a stark reminder of the challenges that face factory workers: declining auto sales, a persistently high goods trade deficit, and muddled fiscal policies", said Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul in a statement. That's right in line with the monthly average of 174,000 over the past three months. That was only slightly above the 2.2 percent annual increase in the consumer price index.

"The participation rate fell, and wage growth showed no improvement", said Long. This unseen supply was keeping wages lower. Among 205,000 new service-providing jobs, the largest gains were in professional/business services (up 88,000 jobs), trade/transportation/utilities (up 58,000 jobs) and education/health services (up 54,000 jobs), it said.

US financial markets are nearly pricing in a 25 basis point increase in the Fed's benchmark overnight interest rate at that meeting, according to CME FedWatch.

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