Unemployment rate falls to 3.7 percent, lowest since 1969

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				AP

The unemployment rate in the U.S. has dipped to its lowest level since 1969, with an official data putting the figure at 3.7 per cent for the month of September.

The labor market slowed substantially in September as employers added 134,000 jobs in a possible sign that worker shortages and USA trade skirmishes are starting to take a bigger toll on hiring.

The low number of new jobs last month was also partially offset by upward revisions to July and August job gains, which reflect an additional 87,000 jobs. On average, businesses added almost 200,000 jobs per month this year - well above the number needed to keep up with a growing population. The FOMC will continue to gradually raise the fed funds rate in 2019 as the job market continues to tighten. Bond yields spiked following the jobs report, with the benchmark 10-Year Treasury hitting 3.24 percent - its highest level in more than seven years.

Despite the similar unemployment rates, today's economy is vastly different from that of 1969.

Experts see the dip in September hiring as a temporary blip in a period for the US economy that Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell called "extraordinary" this week.

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The fallout from Florence was apparent in employment at restaurants and bars, an industry where most workers only get paid if they show up to work. The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours, department figures showed. Wage growth entered this year at 2.9% in January and remained the same last month on a year-over-year basis.

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The weakness in payrolls last month is not corroborated by other labor market data. The strength of that gain, if it can be sustained, would suggest that the low unemployment rate is pressuring more companies to raise pay in order to attract and keep workers.

Economists also noted that the initial September payrolls growth estimate tended to be revised higher. Black unemployment dropped to 6 percent, almost matching the historic low of 5.9 percent recorded in May.

Factory goods orders surged 2.3%, the largest increase since September 2017, boosted by a surge in demand for aircraft, after falling 0.5% in July. "Wage growth, which picked up in the prior month, came in line with expectations with hourly earnings rising 0.3% on the month for an annual rate of 2.8%".

Powell said more wage growth is "quite welcome" and the Fed isn't anxious yet about higher pay causing inflation. Due to the tight labor supply right now, Amazon's retail competitors-notably Walmart and Target, as well as department stores and delivery services-will face the pressure to match Amazon's pay level or provide other forms of incentives.

This week, Amazon announced that it will raise the minimum wage for all US workers to $15 per hour, starting in November.

"Businesses of all sizes are indicating they are doing whatever they can to keep their workers", said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.

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