Published: Sat, June 03, 2017
Business | By Pat Ferguson

US employers add modest 138K jobs; rate dips to 4.3 percent

US employers add modest 138K jobs; rate dips to 4.3 percent

The U.S. economy added 138,000 jobs in May, according to the monthly jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday morning.

US job growth continued in May with unemployment hitting its lowest level in 16 years, likely paving the way for the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates again in a couple of weeks. Average hourly earnings for those on non-farm payrolls rose 4 cents to $26.22.

The government's monthly jobs report produces a net gain by estimating how many jobs were created and comparing that figure with how many it estimates were lost. Job gains have averaged 121,000 over the past three months, compared with an average of 181,000 over the past 12 months. This particular measure includes not only the officially unemployed but also part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs and people who want a job but aren't actively looking for one and so aren't counted as unemployed. The U.S.is about to enter its ninth full year of expansion and there's few cracks in the foundation.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 211,000 to 3.3 million in May. Job gains for March and April were also revised down, showing 66,000 fewer jobs were added than first estimated.

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The Department of Labor also recently released more specific data about the job markets different US cities are experiencing.

Participation in the labor force declined by 0.2 percent to 62.7 percent. The national unemployment rate moved down to 4.3%, the lowest rate since May 2001. Retailers cut 6,100 jobs. The consensus expectation of economists is that the Labor Department will report that employers added 176,000 jobs, according to a survey by FactSet, a data provider.

The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on the data, while United States government bond prices rose. The current expansion has lasted 96 months and is now the third longest since World War Two.

Charles Mills, who works in marketing and sales at Outdoor Landscaping and Design in Pennsylvania, said the economy is probably the best he can recall since the early 2000s before a nationwide real estate bubble burst. The retirement of the baby-boom generation is putting huge downward pressure on the participation rate, even as the improving economy should be drawing Americans back to work. But unlike in March, when weak job growth was accompanied by a growing labor force, May's report was disappointing across the board. The economy needs to create 75,000 to 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population. "It's inevitable that we would start to see a slowdown in the payroll numbers". Given that, it seems questionable at bet for the Federal Reserve to be putting the economic brakes on via more interest rates. But job growth in May was down across many key sectors.

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