Economy

US adds a strong 201K jobs; unemployment stays at 3.9 pct

US adds a strong 201K jobs; unemployment stays at 3.9 pct”

The U.S. economy added jobs 201,000 in August, slightly above expectations as the job market picked up steam again.

Job gains in August suggest that President Trump's trade war has yet to have a widespread hit to workers, although a handful of companies have announced layoffs already and more have threatened to ax jobs if Trump moves forward with additional tariffs, especially on China.

Job growth averaged 185,000 per month in the past three months. The economy needs to create 120,000 jobs a month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.

The jobless rate remains well below Fed estimates of levels sustainable in the long run. Growth reached 4.2 percent at an annual rate in the April-June quarter, the fastest pace in four years.

This developing report will be updated. The annual gain followed a 2.7% advance in July.

Government payrolls decreased by 3,000. The problem for workers, however, is that inflation has risen to 2.9 percent as well, meaning that the inflation-adjusted "real" wage gain is zero over the past 12 months., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because of those strong numbers, unemployment rates remained at an historically low number at 3.9%.

In early July, the Trump administration slapped tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports and announced a proposed list of tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods. That said, this year's tally is still short of the totals from the first seven months of 2014 (1.9 million) and 2015 (1.75 million).

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US businesses added 204,000 jobs while federal, state and local governments lost 3,000.

Stevenson said economists will be watching whether employers are more willing to hire those groups of people given the limited number of available workers.

Manufacturing lost 3,000 jobs, which is surprising given other signs of strength in the manufacturing sector.

"There is certainly nothing in this report that would tell the Fed they shouldn't move ahead with their plans to raise rates", said Betsey Stevenson, a labor economist at the University of MI who served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration. Construction payrolls grew by 23,000 in August, however, continuing what's been a fairly strong summer of hiring in the sector.

This year is on track to be the best for job gains since 2015.

The June report was revised down from 248,000 jobs created to 208,000 - July was also reduced from 157,000 to 147,000.



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