USA unemployment rate falls to 3.9 percent as hiring slows

USA unemployment rate falls to 3.9 percent as hiring slows

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new numbers for the month of July.

PNC Bank chief economist Gus Faucher says the US unemployment rate will probably fall to 3.5 percent by the end of the year.

The US economy added 157,000 jobs in July - 33,000 fewer than expected and well below the 248,000 created in June.

Hary Bottka, senior vice president at Randstad Sourceright, which manages hiring for clients in the manufacturing, financial services and health care industries, says companies are increasingly thinking about converting contract workers, over time, to permanent employees.

The jobless rate had risen in June from an 18-year low of 3.8 percent in May.

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Despite many businesses' trouble finding qualified workers, they are still hiring and looking outside traditional pools for talent. The number of part-time workers who would prefer full-time work has fallen almost 13 per cent in the past year and now stands at 4.6 million. The consensus on Wall Street calls for the central bank to raise rates twice more this year, in September and December.

■ Average hourly earnings rose by 7 cents to $27.05. The Federal Reserve is closely watching the wages component as it seeks to meet its 2 percent inflation target.

Manufacturing added 37,000 jobs in July, with most of the gains in durable goods, according to the report.

Average hourly earnings came in at 2.7% higher than over the same period a year ago, at $27.05.

The overall recent surge of job gains may reflect, in part, confidence among some businesses that the Trump administration's tax cuts will accelerate growth - even though a growing roster of economic experts disagree with that assumption.

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The government revised the previous months' job gains by an additional 59,000.

Job gains have averaged 215,000 so far this year, an acceleration from 2017 (182,000) and 2016 (195,000) averages. The new spending follows a 60 percent jump in oil prices in the past year. The U.S. central bank said "the labor market has continued to strengthen and economic activity has been rising at a strong rate".

The retail sector also added 7,000 jobs, despite 32,000 jobs lost in sporting goods, hobby, book, music and toy stores.

Construction boosted jobs by 19,000 following a 13,000 gain.

With the USA unemployment rate near a five-decade low, companies are looking harder for employees, and in some cases finding them right at their own workplaces.

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