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- US employers added more nonfarm payrolls than expected in October and the unemployment rate held at its lowest level since 1969, according to the jobs report released Friday.
- Average hourly earnings posted their biggest year-over-year increase since 2009, partly because wage growth was very weak in October 2017.
- The jobs report should bolster the Trump administration’s talking point on the economy ahead of next week’s midterm elections and cement expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its meeting in December.
US employers added more people than expected to their payrolls in October as wages grew at their fastest pace since April 2009, according to the jobs report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 250,000, rebounding after the weakest month of 2018, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, its lowest level since 1969. Economists had forecast that employers added 200,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Average hourly earnings rose by 3.1% year-on-year, the first time they’d grown by more than 3% since April 2009. That was expected, partly because wage growth was weak last October. Many of the lower-paid workers who were put out of work by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 returned to their jobs, depressing the average.
The BLS said Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in October this year, had “no discernible effect” on hiring and the unemployment rate.
Overall the jobs report reflected the tightest labor market in several years, one putting pressure on employers to raise worker pay. It bolsters the Trump administration’s talking point on the economy just days before Tuesday’s midterm elections amid a record streak of monthly hiring gains in the US.
The report also cements expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its December meeting. At the same time, continued growth in wages may intensify investors’ concerns about inflation and how this could spur faster rate hikes from the Fed.
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