US unemployment rate falls to 3.5%; job growth steady

US non-farm payrolls increased by 136,000 jobs last month the government said today

Despite this, hiring has averaged 157,000 in the past three months, making it enough to absorb new job seekers and resulting in lower unemployment over time. It is trying to keep the longest economic expansion in USA history, now in its 11th year, on track. As long as hiring is solid enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising, most Americans will likely remain confident enough to spend, offsetting other drags and propelling the economy forward. The unemployment rate for workers without high school diplomas fell to 4.8 per cent, the lowest level on records dating to 1992. And overseas demand for United States exports has fallen sharply as President Donald Trump's trade conflicts with China and Europe have triggered retaliatory tariffs.

"Today's data don't change the fundamental economic picture", senior USA economist at AllianceBernstein, Eric Winograd, said.

A bleaker point in the report was wage growth. The economy created 45,000 more jobs in July and August than previously estimated.

In a separate report also released on Friday, the commerce department said the yawning U.S. trade deficit rose by almost $1 billion in August as weakening foreign demand and the churning trade conflict ate into United States export growth.

Average hourly wages fell by a penny to $28.09 last month, well below economists' expectations, putting an end to a year-long string of steady gains.

"Breaking News: Unemployment Rate, at 3.5%, drops to a 50 YEAR LOW".

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Trump immediately cheered the good jobs data, indicating his economic record should shield him from efforts to impeach him. The number of added jobs was in line with most analysts' projections.

Many groups, including Hispanics and workers without a high school diploma, are benefitting from the tight USA labor market.

Economic growth estimates for the third quarter range from as low as a 1.3% annualized rate to as high as a 1.9% pace. As a result, the U.S. trade balance crept 1.6 per cent higher to $54.9 billion for the month, surpassing economists' expectations. Average hourly earnings fell 0.4% on the month, also coming in a shade below Wall Street forecasts.

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, declined to 6.9% last month, the lowest level since December 2000, from 7.2% in August. That lowered the annual increase in wages to 2.9 per cent from 3.2 per cent in August.

Wages stayed virtually unchanged in September, but have grown 2.9 percent over the past 12 months. Retail payrolls dropped by 11,400 jobs, shedding employment for an eight straight month. A trade group's measure of growth in the economy's vast services sector slowed sharply in September to its lowest point in three years, suggesting that the trade conflicts and rising uncertainty are weakening the bulk of the economy.

Americans also reined in their spending in August after several months of healthy gains. Government payrolls have also risen by 147,000 over the year, reported to be driven by local governments.

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