USA weekly jobless claims drop to near 49-year low

USA weekly jobless claims drop to near 49-year low

The unemployment rate for those who have a high school diploma and no college attendance was 3.7 percent, which is the lowest since April 2001.

The rate remained unchanged in September at 62.7 percent of eligible workers in the workforce, down from a pre-recession rate of 66 percent.

Average hourly earnings rose at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in September, down from 2.9 percent in August.

The labor market is in excellent shape heading into the end of 2018, perhaps the best it has been in 50 years.

The nation saw a sharp drop in new hires last year after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, nearly snapping the record-setting streak of years of continuous job growth.

By almost any measure, today's labor market is the strongest since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Unemployment among African Americans declined three-tenths of a percent to 6 percent, close to the record low of 5.9 percent set in May. Job growth has repeatedly defied economists' predictions of a slowdown.

The politically sensitive goods trade deficit with China increased 4.7 percent to a record high of $38.6 billion.

Following Friday's release Michael Pearce, senior US economist at Capital Economics, said the report is likely to affirm the Fed's plans to continue raising interest rates gradually, adding that wage is now on track to climb above 3% by the end of 2018. "These really are the good times". Almost 300,000 workers told the BLS that bad weather kept them away from their jobs, most likely in industries like hospitality in which they're paid only if they show up.

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(Kitco News) - Gold prices are holding relatively steady, hovering above the psychological level of $1,200 an ounce as the US labor market showed a mixed picture last month. Many economists expect pay growth to accelerate in coming months.

The long-awaited pickup may already have begun.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it was raising its minimum wage to $US15 an hour, more than twice the federal mandate of $US7.25. Those numbers are not adjusted for inflation, which has been eating into wage gains over the past several months as the Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates in response to a strengthening economy.

Investors are betting that there's no reason why the Fed won't raise interest rates again in December and several more times next year too.

So far, there isn't much evidence of that happening. Pointing to the economy's health, the Fed last week raised its benchmark short-term rate and predicted that it would continue to tighten credit into 2020 to manage growth and inflation.

Why? The short answer: The economy is good. The 134K level is barely a maintenance level, a disappointment except for the context of Hurricane Florence.

Take extra care interpreting September's jobs figures because of Hurricane Florence, which hit the Carolinas in the middle of the month.

The Labour Department said 299 000 people weren't at work due to bad weather, reflecting the storm's impact.

What's more, the government on Friday revised sharply up its estimate of hiring for July and August by 87,000 jobs. Florence affected a smaller part of the country than last year's storms, and hit at a time in the month when it is less likely to disrupt data collection or measurement.

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