Unemployment Rate Falls 3.7%, a 49-Year Low

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The African-American unemployment rate went from 6.3 percent to 6 percent, the second lowest on record behind 5.9 percent in May, according to the U.S. Labor Department who released the report on Friday.

U.S. non-farm payrolls increased by 134,000 jobs last month, the fewest in a year, as the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors shed employment.

However, overall, the economy added a lower number of jobs than expected.

Significant jobs growth was seen in professional and business services, healthcare and construction. Average hourly earnings rose 2.8 percent over the year, slightly above the average over the past year but down from last month's increase. They added 87,000 jobs to the two months combined, most of those in August, which went from 201,000 jobs added to 270,000. A category that includes restaurants, hotels and casinos lost jobs for the first time since last September, when Hurricane Harvey exerted a similar effect.

Hurricane Florence affected parts of the East Coast during the September reference periods for the surveys for payrolls and the national unemployment rate, the Labour Department said in a special note Friday. Many Americans will be looking at the employment rate, especially with the midterm elections coming in November.

A rising number of companies are converting part-timers who have wanted more hours to full-time workers and are posting more full-time jobs.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said earlier this week that the economy's outlook was "remarkably positive" and he believed it was on the cusp of a "historically rare" era of ultra-low unemployment and tame inflation.

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"Given the fact that the job market has been so strong for so long, there is an expectation that labour will begin to take more of the capital from corporate profits going forward", said Michael Arone, the chief investment strategist for the US SPDR business at State Street Global Advisors.

The OECD suggested a number of reasons, including what president Trump and many others have called the opioid crisis - the widespread misuse of and addiction to certain prescription drugs.

Economists say there is no indication the labor market is expected to weaken anytime soon.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 185,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate falling one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent. But even then, unemployment only fell to 3.8 percent in April 2000. In 2018 so far, manufacturing has added 278,000 jobs.

Washington last month slapped tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with Beijing retaliating with duties on $60 billion worth of USA products. The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as well as on roughly half of China's imports to the United Sates.

Private employment rose by 121 000, compared with a median estimate of 180 000. But wage increases so far have been modest, something that puzzles economists but allows the Fed to move gradually.

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