Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Booming US jobs market lifts chance of rate rise

The U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs in June, as unemployment rose to 4 percent US jobs growth stronger than expected
Ginger Lawrence | 08 July, 2018, 16:58

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast nonfarm payrolls increasing by 195,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate steady at 3.8 percent. They had expected that the unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%, its lowest level since 2000.

The report also says average hourly wage growth, which is closely watched by the Bank of Canada, remained strong last month at 3.6 - although it did come down from its nine-year high in May of 3.9 per cent.

"Labor market fundamentals remain solid, with a meaningful pickup in service-sector employment surveys", Hill said. "Clearly there are some sectors like trucking where wages are going up, but warehousing wages really collapsed and are only now just $12 or $13 an hour".

The May numbers show that imports expanded 1.7 per cent, while exports dipped 0.1 per cent. Stocks on Wall Street were trading higher. Revised figures for April and May bring the monthly average for this year to 214,000 jobs-up from 182,000 the year before.

Altogether, 285,000 new jobs have been added in the manufacturing sector in the past year.

The United States has increased jobs monthly for more than seven years, but some analysts suggest that the escalating trade disputes between the U.S. and its allies could threaten growth. As executives say they can not find enough qualified workers, some are turning to hiring people who are incarcerated or people with disabilities.

"This is a good job-creation number, but on the other hand we see still continued soft wage growth", said Michael Feroli, chief USA economist at JPMorgan Chase.

"The key takeaway is the big jump in labor force participation", said Kevin Hassett, President Trump's top economist.

However, the labour participation rate suggests the city had the lowest rate of labour participation or people who are employed, in the country.

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DePratto stressed he didn't see anything in the jobs report to deter Poloz from hiking the rate next week.

The previous record was 4.8% back in 1973.

"If payroll growth remains anywhere near 200,000, the downward trend in the unemployment rate will return in due course", said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics. Swonk said the industry "suffered a blow during the month as announced store closings finally kicked in". "If this doesn't stop, manufacturing will take a hit".

Yet the monthly figures landed the same day as President Donald Trump intensified a global trade war with United States levies on US$34 billion (RM137.36 billion) of Chinese goods, spurring retaliatory tariffs. Employers kept hiring even as fears grew of a global trade war.

Businesses hired robustly in June despite threats of trade tensions.

But that is good news for the Federal Reserve since they will not feel pressure to raise interest rates faster.

The Trump administration has also applied tariffs on steel and aluminum from allies like Canada and Mexico and has threatened to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Author information: Heather Long is an economics correspondent.