U.S. unemployment rate hits 16-year low in May

In 2016, 32,000 new jobs were an average monthly gain in the healthcare industry as compared to the 22,000 jobs per month in the year 2017. Average hourly earnings were up by 2.5 percent from the previous year to $26.22, continuing a streak of relatively weak wage growth. Yet even about 100,000 payroll additions a month would be enough to further nudge down the jobless rate, and the tight market is expected to push upstill-measured wage growth, juicing spending and the economy. Health care and social assistance added almost 37,000 jobs and professional services 39,000.

But manufacturers, retailers and governments shed workers last month. The US unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in May, the lowest since 2001 .

In May, however, the 15th fell outside of the survey week for the jobs report, which could potentially tamp down wage inflation more than expected.

“The retail locations doing well are more boutique, experience-oriented retail that provide more of a rich, contextual shopping experience”, Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, told CBS News. Since last October, this sector has added 47,000 jobs, for something under 8,000 jobs per month.

Job gains in March were revised down to 50,000 from 79,000 while April’s figures were also lowered to 174,000 from 211,000.

The labor market was largely expected to return to form last month after volatile weather made for sharp gyrations the first five months of the year. “But the slowing pace of job growth combined with still-muted wage growth may lead some officials to downgrade their expectations for further policy tightening in the second half of the year”. “The weak job growth number isn’t a disaster because it still keeps up with population growth”, said Paul Diggle, senior economist at Aberdeen Asset Management.

Cohn highlighted a continued decline in a broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged out-of-work Americans and people working part time but who want full-time jobs.

Two days after that meeting, the Labor Department reported that job growth had rebounded strongly in April.

More than 400,000 people stopped looking for work entirely.

The national unemployment rate nudged lower, to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent – a level that was already the lowest in 10 years when it was announced last month. A report by the Commonwealth Fund found that repealing key provisions of the ACA, particularly the insurance premium tax credits and Medicaid expansion, could cause the sector to lose 2.9 million jobs by 2019.

“Fed officials have noted the weakness in inflation numbers of the past few months but have been willing to discount it as temporary”, said Michelle Meyer, senior US economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

USA financial markets have nearly priced in a 25 basis points increase in the Fed’s benchmark overnight interest rate this month, according to CME FedWatch. For the near term, we believe that today’s report does not meet the high bar required for the Fed to stand pat on the fed funds rate at its meeting later this month.

The May report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has something for everyone: Good indicators, bad indicators, and a near-historic low in overall unemployment.


[Copyright By Paul Smedley]

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