WASHINGTON, Sept 7 ― Hiring surged in the United States last month, and employers increased wages by the most in nearly a decade as the jobs markets showed no sign of slowing, the government reported today.
The unexpected hiring spree, which saw jobs sprout up in construction, transportation, wholesale trade, finance and health care, was a shot in the arm for President Donald Trump, who was beset this week by reports his staff had actively sought to undermine him.
The US economy added 201,000 new jobs, well above analyst expectations, while the unemployment rate held steady at an already-low 3.9 per cent and wage gains gained ground on inflation.
Ahead of crucial elections in November, the White House ― which had been at pains this week to counter reports of flagging wage growth ― will surely also welcome news that average worker pay grew by 2.9 per cent compared to August of last year, the biggest increase since June 2009, and in line with consumer inflation.
But the strong gain in pay will also solidify expectations for the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates this year to keep a lid on inflation, something that has drawn Trump’s ire.
And a bright spot for the month was surely the bump in average hourly worker pay, which jumped 10 cents over July’s rate, about double what economists had been expecting.
The August employment gain appeared even larger given a downward revision to July’s comparatively weak numbers.
The hiring momentum was shared by all, however, as jobs in auto manufacturing, retail and utilities fell.
The labour force participation rate and employment-to-population ratio also weakened slightly.
Analysts had warned that technical factors could produce a deceptively weak reading, since August had more total working days than prior months.
Weak wage increases had threatened to undermine the message of incumbent Republicans ahead of November’s mid-term elections that December’s sweeping tax cuts would produce dividends for working Americans. ― AFP
Source: The Malay Mail Online