‘Wow America, lets impeach your President (even though he did nothing wrong!)…’
(AFP) America’s jobless rate tumbled in September to its lowest level in 50 years, according to government data released Friday, delighting the White House.
Meanwhile, with a strong dollar and slowing global economy, the US trade deficit widened in August, as the trade conflicts ate into export growth.
President Donald Trump immediately cheered the good jobs data, claiming his economic record should shield him from efforts to impeach him.
The pace of job creation was the slowest in four months and wages fell, while the manufacturing workforce also shrank for the second time this year.
Wall Street was reassured by the news, with the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.6 percent toward 1500 GMT.
Unemployment fell two tenths of a point to 3.5 percent, matching the rate last recorded in December 1969, and well below what analysts had forecast, according to the Labor Department.
Employers added a total of 136,000 net new positions, which was below expectations, with notable slowdowns in education, government, finance and business services.
The August job gain was revised up sharply to 168,000, nearly 40,000 more than originally reported.
“Breaking News: Unemployment Rate, at 3.5%, drops to a 50 YEAR LOW. Wow America, lets impeach your President (even though he did nothing wrong!),” Trump tweeted.
The hotly-anticipated jobs report also landed amid a raft of economic data showing Trump’s trade wars have put a dent in the business environment and suggesting hiring should slow in the coming months.
Average hourly wages fell by a penny to $28.09 last month, well below economists’ expectations, putting an end to a year-long string of steady gains and limiting consumers’ spending power in the coming months.
The mining sector added no workers after three straight months of layoffs. The auto sector shed workers for the fourth month in a row.
As good as it gets?
“Job growth is set to slow much further,” Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said in a note to clients.
“This is as good as it’s likely to get until the trade war is resolved.”
But given the dwindling supply of workers in the US economy, some groups continue to benefit: unemployment among Hispanics fell to its lowest level since records began in 1973.
And for workers without a high school diploma, the jobless rate fell to the lowest since records began in 1992.
The broadest measure of unemployment, which takes into account those working part time but seeking full time jobs, and those marginally attached to the labor force, fell to the lowest level in nearly 19 years.
The latest data did not reflect the nationwide strike launched last month by General Motors employees, who walked off the job the week after the survey for the September jobs report was conducted.
In a separate report also released Friday, the Commerce Department said the yawning US trade deficit rose by nearly $1 billion in August as weakening foreign demand and the churning trade conflict ate into US export growth.
The unexpected increase in could weigh on GDP calculations for the third quarter while a global economic slowdown is expected to weaken US exports toward the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the strong US dollar fueled American imports of consumer items like mobile telephones as well as semiconductors and industrial equipment, according to the report.
As a result, the US trade balance crept 1.6 percent higher to $54.9 billion for the month, surpassing economists’ expectations.
Imports increased 0.5 percent, while exports rose 0.2 percent, rising more slowly than in July.
The deficit is up more than 7 percent in the first eight months of the year over the same period of 2018.
© Agence France-Presse