Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.7%

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				AP

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a near 49-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength, which continues to underpin economic growth.

The employment rate in the leisure and hospitality fields showed little change in September, a contrast from the modest upward trend that had been in place before last month, the Labor Department said. The Labor Department said claims for South and North Carolina were affected by Hurricane Florence, which lashed the region in mid-September. Hurricane Florence likely weighed on job growth in September 2018, just as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma weighed on job growth in September 2017. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% over last month in September and 2.8% over the prior year.

In a separate report on Thursday, the Commerce Department said new orders for US -made goods recorded their biggest increase in almost a year in August.

But despite the lower jobless rate, non-farm employers added just 134,000 net new positions, far weaker than analysts expected.

Retailers had the worst month for hiring, as the sector lost 20,000 jobs. They added 87,000 jobs to the two months combined, most of those in August, which went from 201,000 jobs added to 270,000.

Washington last month slapped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with Beijing retaliating with duties on $60bn worth of U.S. products.

For now, consumers, business executives and most economists remain optimistic.

Markets responded positively to the report.




Many major employers announced pay increases in recent months, but those have yet to significantly move the needle nationally on average hourly earnings, which haven't topped 3 percent growth yet in this expansion.

Friday's jobs report likely will keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise short-term interest rates, economists said, with another rate increase expected at its meeting in December.

The unemployment rate is now at 3.7 percent, the lowest rate since December 1969, when the jobless rate was 3.5 percent.

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at the career site Glassdoor, views the development "as the strongest labour market in a generation". Professional and business services employment increased by 54,000 jobs last month and government payrolls rose 13,000.

(Kitco News) - Gold prices are holding relatively steady, hovering above the psychological level of $1,200 an ounce as the USA labor market showed a mixed picture last month.

Washington last month slapped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with Beijing retaliating with duties on $60 billion worth of U.S. products. The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as well as on roughly half of China's imports to the United Sates. The trade gap increased 6.4 per cent to a six-month high of $53.2 billion in August, the Commerce Department reported on Friday.

But, the unemployment rates for African-Americans and Hispanics were both near all-time lows, the report said. Job growth has repeatedly defied economists' predictions of a slowdown.

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