United States unemployment falls to 48-year low in September

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.7 percent in September, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 270,000 to 6.0 million.

If Republicans can make the case to voters that their policies are largely responsible for this increased pay and improved job prospects, they can maintain control of Congress on Election Day.

The growth in the number of jobs observed 96 months in a row. This suggests that the tax cuts that took effect this year are boosting job opportunities. That's down from 3.9% in August and was the lowest since December of 1969, when the Labor Department was tabulating people with pencils and paper and using an abacus.

The average hourly wage in the United States last month increased by 0.3% compared to August and by 2.8% for the year, both indicators have coincided with market expectations. Fortunately, most of the numbers are still looking quite positive for the economy and for the labor market in general. The duration measures of unemployment also all showed increases in the month, with average duration increasing by 1.4 weeks to 24.0 weeks, the longest period since March. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.2 to 62.7 percent. Across education levels, unemployment rose by 0.6 percent for those with less than a high school education and by 0.3 percent for those with partial education. The unemployment rate for college grads fell by just 0.1 percentage points.

The goods-producing sector added 46,000 jobs in September, with construction employment increasing by 23,000, bringing its 2018 total to 214,000.

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Unemployment among African Americans declined three-tenths of a percent to 6 percent, close to the record low of 5.9 percent set in May.

Canada's increase in total employment in September, according to Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey, was a healthy +63,000 jobs.

Last month's jobs report was largely great news. Over 200,000 jobs were added, and earnings growth topped 2.9 percent for the first time since May of 2009.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 134,000 jobs in September, while economists had expected an increase of about 185,000 jobs.

The trade deficit has increased $31 billion this year, an increase of 8.6 percent from 2017. The most recent ISM manufacturing survey reflects concerns over trade. The manufacturing sector saw net job losses in last month's report - that's worth watching, as it relates to concerns about tariffs, but it's worth monitoring for broader economic-health concerns as well.


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