- The US unemployment rate fell to 3.7% in September, the lowest level since December 1969.
- Employers added fewer nonfarm positions than expected as Hurricane Florence caused job losses in restaurants and bars.
- Wages increased in line with forecasts.
US employers added fewer positions than expected in September, but the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, the lowest level since 1969, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on Friday.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 134,000, slowed in part by job losses that were likely caused by Hurricane Florence. Economists had forecast 185,000 net additions according to Bloomberg.
The low unemployment rate added to evidence of a booming economy and a tight jobs market that’s pressuring companies to pay workers more.
As usual, the focus was on wages – but even more so this time. Average hourly earnings rose in line with forecasts, by 0.3% month-on-month and 2.8% year-on-year.
Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it was raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than twice the federal mandate of $7.25. That was not going to move the needle on last month’s wage number, but served as a key anecdote on the pressure companies were under – politically and due to a tight labor market – to raise wages.
Investors were also watching the wage-growth number closely amid a sell-off in the bond market. Bond yields rise when prices fall, and they spiked on Wednesday to the highest level in over seven years after a strong payroll report from ADP and bullish comments from the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
“The US economy is on fire right now and the bond market has been underestimating just how hot the economy is,” said Lawler Jasper, the head of research at London Capital Group. “What we are seeing here is that complacency start to fade.”
- Some of Wall Street’s biggest firms are already waving red flags on the stock market’s newest sector
- A fund manager who’s crushing nearly all of her peers breaks down 3 under-the-radar stocks driving her strong performance
- UBS details all the possible outcomes of the midterm elections and why a so-called blue tsunami could be the most devastating for stocks