US Jobless Rate Falls to 3.9%, Lowest Since 2000

Irving Hamilton
May 5, 2018

In all, the number of people receiving aid dropped 77,000 to 1.26 million after April 21. The central bank tends to lower rates when unemployment is relatively high and raise them when it believes the economy is at full employment and wages are beginning to go up.

"We are in a demographically induced tight labor market", Brusuelas said. The labor participation rate-a measure of people working or searching for work-dipped slightly. That's not what's supposed to happen when unemployment gets as low as it can. which tells us that unemployment must not have bottomed out yet.

The implications are being reveled in outbreaks of labor unrest over compensations levels.

Workers in the private sector are enjoying the sharpest average income growth in 11 years.

For the past five months, on-site construction workers have been averaging year-over-year weekly earnings increases of almost +5.0%.

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The tapping of workers in typically underemployed groups may also help explain why wage growth proved to be slower than expected in April, with the average hourly wages rising just 0.1% during the month. The rate for African-Americans - 6.6 percent - is the lowest on record since 1972. In April, around 12.7% of unemployed Americans had voluntarily quit, as opposed to 14% or more back in 2000.

Overall, the job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care, and mining categories. Employment changed little in other industries, such as construction, retail, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality and government. The biggest gains were in professional/business services (up 44,000 jobs) and trade/transportation/utilities (up 40,000 jobs), it said.

But while the number of jobs available increases, the actual number of new humans needed to fill these roles continues to dwindle. That is quite a turnaround from the sluggish job growth experienced in 2016, and it is a sign that firms have continued to accelerate their hiring as the economic outlook has strengthened and demand and production have improved considerably.

Frick believes unemployment will keep falling as businesses offer more attractive wages and benefits to entice Americans who have stopped looking for work.

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