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US joblessness at 3.6%, lowest since 1969

06 May 2019

The unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been since December 1969.

This follows a Gallup poll released in March that more than half of American voters were willing to give President Donald Trump credit for reviving the United States economy and creating new jobs, despite persistent skepticism on the president's overall job performance. At the same time, the strength endorses Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's resistance to White House and Wall Street calls for interest-rate reductions.

Retailers, however, continued to cut jobs, shedding 12,000 in April, the third straight months of cuts.

Many businesses say they're struggling to find workers, yet each month they seem to add a substantial number. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent. The federal government added 12,500 jobs in April, which likely included some boost from the Census but isn't a large effect yet.

Compared to March, however, the increase in pay was only 0.2 percent, shy of forecasts, but economists said this may have been due to distortions from the Easter holiday.

Employers scooped up workers in construction, health care, computer systems design, administrative support and other industries, adding a total of 263,000 net new positions for the month. Monday's March update of core PCE, which is the Fed's preferred inflation yardstick, ticked down to a year-over-year rate of 1.6% - an 18-month low.

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"It would be awfully hard for the Fed to explain a rate cut given the strong job market, so forget that", said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. Over 2 million jobs were created previous year, including 250,000 jobs in new construction projects, and 250,000 jobs in mining and manufacturing. The number was far higher than the 180,000 economists had expected.

On March 7, visitors to the Pittsburgh veterans job fair meet with recruiters at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Rising inflation typically forces the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates, which can cause a downturn.

Employment increased in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, healthcare, transportation and warehousing, and financial activities industries.

"We think it will be increasingly hard to find that many new workers each month", said Lou Crandall, chief economist of Wrightson ICAP LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

US joblessness at 3.6%, lowest since 1969