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Economy adds robust 250,000 jobs in October in last employment report before election

Economy adds robust 250,000 jobs in October in last employment report before election


Four months after creating the National Council for the American Worker, President Donald Trump is announcing that over 160 companies and organizations are pledging to provide new career opportunities for more than 6 million Americans. (Oct. 31)

The economy added a healthy 250,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday in the last employment report before midterm elections that President Trump has cast as a critical referendum on his stewardship of the economy.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at a near 50-year low of 3.7 percent. Annual wage growth topped 3 percent for the first time in nine years.

Economists had estimated 200,000 jobs were added last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Trump has boasted that low unemployment is a result of the cuts to taxes and regulations championed by his administration, and warned ominously that electing Democrats would reverse the gains.

“At stake in this Election is whether we continue the extraordinary prosperity we have achieved – or whether we let the Radical Democrat Mob take a giant wrecking ball to our Country and our Economy!” he tweeted this week.

Economists, however, say there likely would be no significant impact on the economy and labor market if the House or Senate flipped to Democratic control.

Politics aside, the significance of Friday’s report was tempered by the effects of recent hurricanes. Hurricane Florence appeared to reduce employment by 50,000 in the Carolinas in September, likely leading to a similar-size boost last month as workers returned to job sites, Goldman Sachs estimated. Payrolls increased by just 118,000 in September.

But the research firm expected that to be largely offset by a decline of 20,000 to 40,000 jobs as a result of Hurricane Michael, which battered the Florida Panhandle. Goldman expected a net 15,000 bump from weather effects.

Monthly job growth has averaged a sturdy 212,000 this year despite low unemployment and related labor shortages that are making it harder for businesses to find workers.

Wage growth tops 3 percent

Average hourly earnings rose 5 cents to $27.30, pushing the annual gain to 3.1 percent, strongest since April 2009, from 2.8 percent in September.

But there’s a caveat. Average pay in October 2017 was particularly weak, likely inflating the yearly increase. More broadly, pay increases are gradually picking up as employers struggle to find workers. That could prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more rapidly to head off a potential spike in inflation.

More: These 8 retailers can’t afford a disappointing 2018 holiday shopping season

More: GM offers buyouts to 18,000 salaried workers, says layoffs possible

More: Rising interest rates and prices hurt October auto sales, with SUVs still faring better than cars

Industries that are hiring

health care led the job gains with 46,000. Leisure and hospitality added 42,000; professional and business services, 35,000; and transportation and warehousing, 25,000.

Manufacturers added 32,000 jobs as the industry continued to benefit from a surge in oil drilling and a generally healthy global economy. The effects of the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese imports valued at $250 billion a year and China’s countertariffs have dinged business confidence but that hasn’t yet significantly dampened hiring.

And construction added 30,000 jobs despite severe worker shortages as builders respond to a housing supply crunch.



There are a number of companies looking to hire people just for the holiday season. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story.

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