Research - OCTOBER 5, 2018

U.S. adds 134,000 jobs in September

by Loretta Clodfelter

The U.S. economy added 134,000 jobs in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent — the lowest level in nearly 50 years.

September saw lower job gains than the previous month. Hurricane Florence, which made landfall on the East Coast during the survey period, may be the cause. Job gains in July and August were revised upward to 165,000 and 270,000, respectively.

Wage growth is a key signal for investors concerned about the potential for rising inflation. Average hourly earnings rose $0.08 in September; over the past 12 months, wages have grown 2.8 percent. One reason wages have remained low even as unemployment has fallen is that many of the jobs being created are at the lower end of the payscale.

The largest categories of job growth were professional and business services (up 54,000 jobs), healthcare (up 26,000 jobs), transportation and warehousing (up 24,000 jobs), and construction (up 23,000 jobs). Leisure and hospitality jobs fell by 17,000, though some of the weakness may be owing to Hurricane Florence.

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