U.S. jobless rate hits 49-year low of 3.7 percent

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The U.S. jobless rate dropped to 3.7 percent in September - the lowest since 1969, though the economy added a lower-than-expected 134,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

One of the main factors in the dip in the vacancies was likely to be Hurricane Florence, which struck North and SC at the beginning of September, closing thousands of businesses. 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 pay in September rose 2.8 percent from a year earlier.

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.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% from the prior month, matching estimates, following a downwardly revised 0.3% gain, the report showed.

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.

In the upcoming holiday shopping season, Amazon is expected to hire over 100,000 seasonal workers, who will reap this benefit.

The drop of two-tenths of a per centage point in the unemployment rate from 3.9 per cent in August pushed it to levels last seen in December 1969 and matched the Fed's forecast of 3.7 per cent by the end of this year. A survey of service-sector firms this week, including banks, hotels and health care providers, found that they are expanding at their fastest pace in a decade.

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Americans have continued spending steadily and appear to be in generally stable financial shape. But the more-inclusive "underemployment" rate (technically U6), ticked up to 7.5% from 7.4%.

Unemployment rates for other individual groups of workers stayed roughly the same from last month: 3.5 percent for Asian-Americans, 4.5 percent for Hispanics, 3.3 percent for women, and 12.8 percent for teenagers. That trend suggests that a brighter economic outlook hasn't caused consumers to recklessly build up unsustainable debt. Over time, higher borrowing costs make auto loans, mortgages and corporate debt more expensive and can eventually slow the economy.

"That said, 134,000 jobs is far from a awful employment number and with August's being revised up by another 69,000, the labour market looks extremely healthy and provides further evidence of a booming economy". The Fed is forecasting the economy will grow 3.1 percent this year - that's up from the 2.8 percent it projected in June. Sales of existing homes have fallen over the past year, held back in part by higher mortgage rates.

The economy does show some weak spots. Increasingly expensive houses, higher mortgage rates and a shortage of properties for sale are slowing purchases.

Amy Glaser, a senior vice president at staffing agency Adecco, told The New York Times after Friday's jobs report release that some seasonal employers are moving up their hiring timelines, easing job requirements and giving workers more flexibility over schedules to attract more applicants. Auto sales have also slumped. It said it was impossible to quantify the net effect on employment.

The US and China had already imposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other's goods.

Economists had estimated 185,000 new jobs were created last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

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