Unemployment just fell for all the wrong reasons

15 Juin, 2017, 16:38 | Author: Marc Bacque
  • Unemployment just fell for all the wrong reasons

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers pulled back on hiring in May by adding only 138,000 jobs, though the gains were enough to help nudge the unemployment rate down to a 16 year-low.

The unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a percentage point to 4.3 percent, the lowest since 2001.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates later this month but Friday's numbers may muddy the waters given the mixed picture it presents.

Hiring in the months of April and March was revised downward by a combined 66,000.

On Friday, when the government releases the jobs report for May, that pattern is likely to extend itself. U.S. stock index futures trimmed gains.

But because most of its positions are entry-level jobs geared for younger workers, the company has been able to pay them in part through bonuses rather than hourly raises. Yet the decline stemmed more from people leaving the labor force than an increase in the number who found jobs. "Notably, the three-month moving average gain has steadily declined from about 200,000 in February to 121,000 in May".

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Unemployment dipped to 4.3 percent in May.

Wage growth was little changed, and economists had expected this because of a calendar quirk: The survey week for the jobs report usually includes the 12th of the month. Employers in a several of industries say it's harder to find workers compared to a few years ago, but many are still reluctant to ramp up wages at time when consumer spending and business investment have been uneven. The number of additional job-seekers in the first quarters of 2015, 2016 and 2017, however, has been notably higher than in preceding years. The dip, he said, would not reflect the fundamentally sturdy job landscape. It may also be a sign businesses are reluctant to expand their workforce until they see more evidence the new administration's plans are translating into legislation that'll reduce taxes and spur growth. Expectations were running high after private payroll firm ADP reported robust gains on Thursday. Average hourly earnings rose 2.5% in May versus a year earlier, the same as in April and slower than the previous months of the year.

USA employers added fewer than 140,000 jobs last month as companies struggle to find workers to fill positions and appear to be keeping their foot off the gas until the outlook for Washington, D.C., policy changes like corporate tax reform become more clear. Employment in restaurants and bars grew by 38,000.

But manufacturers, retailers and governments shed workers last month. Both quarterly and annual statistics reveal positive trends in manufacturing (3.6% growth in Q1 and 8.8% growth year-on year), finance (2.1% in Q1 and 6.8% year-on-year) and construction (1.5% in Q1 and 10.5% year-on-year) among other sectors.

"The loss of manufacturing jobs in May is a stark reminder of the challenges that face factory workers", Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said in a statement, calling on Trump and Congress to address the USA trade deficit.


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