Economy

U.S. jobs growth surges; wage gain largest in 9 years

U.S. jobs growth surges; wage gain largest in 9 years

A man holds his briefcase while waiting in line during a job fair in Melville, New York July 19, 2012.

After years of job growth, workers may finally be getting more money in their paychecks. The health services, financial services, and education services sectors were the leading creators of new job during the month, each adding 53,000.

There is also a broader unemployment statistic kept by the Bureau of Labor Statistics known as the U6.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.4% from the prior month following a 0.3% gain, the report showed. Still, rising inflation, which also reached 2.9 percent in July from a year earlier, has offset that gain. Economists have been puzzled by wage growth that has appeared stuck between 2 and 2.5 percent, despite an unemployment rate near an 18-year low.

Revisions subtracted a total of 50 000 jobs from payrolls in the previous two months, according to the figures, resulting in a three-month average of 185 000.

The dollar rose in response to the data. USA stock index futures extended losses.

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GOP lawmakers hailed the report, as Republicans make the election year argument that the economic policies of President Donald Trump are helping Americans at all levels.

The US and China have slapped retaliatory tariffs on a combined $100 billion of products since early July.

Americans had until Thursday to comment on a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods widely expected to be hit with tariffs soon.

The government imposed import duties on goods including steel, aluminum, washing machines, lumber and solar panels early this year to protect United States industries from what Trump says is unfair foreign competition.

The US economy grew at a 4.2% annualised rate in the second quarter, nearly double the 2.2% pace set in the three months from January to March.

JP Morgan economist Daniel Silver notes, however, that August's jobs reports have in recent years had a tendency to undershoot consensus estimates.

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Manufacturers lost 3,000 jobs after a string of healthy gains in a sign the trade skirmishes may have curbed hiring.

Employment also declined in machinery, computer and electronic products as well as furniture industries.

In terms of the larger context, this morning's data points to 1.65 million jobs created so far in 2018, which is quite good, and which is an improvement on the totals from the first eight months of 2016 (1.59 million) and 2017 (1.51 million).

Job gains for August topped those for July and June.

Employment in mining took a positive turn for the month of August, the BLS reports.

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