Has this economy reached 'full employment'?

06 May, 2018, 00:01 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • Unemployment drops, but wage growth remains sluggish

USA hiring rebounded in April and the unemployment rate dropped below 4% for the first time since 2000, while wage gains cooled by more than forecast, a sign that the labor market still isn't tight enough to spur inflation.

The unemployment rate has dropped below 4 percent for the first time in 18 years, and the truth of the matter is we have no idea how much further it can go.

United States jobs growth slowed in April.

"Jobs in the U.S are doing so well", President Donald Trump tweeted this morning, "Americans receiving unemployment aid is the lowest since 1973". Employers, especially in the construction and manufacturing sectors, are increasingly reporting difficulties finding qualified workers. They clocked in at just 2.6 percent over last year's levels (below the expected 2.7 percent print).

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in April. It stands to reason that wage growth will continue to accelerate as the untapped portion of the labor pool continues to evaporate.

"We've continued to add jobs routinely every month for so long, and the unemployment rate we have reached is unbelievable".

Average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents, settling at $26.84.

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Unemployment in the US hit a post Great Recession landmark, according to figures released Friday, while a separate report showed increased factory orders but declining capital investment for new factory equipment.

But now, unemployment is lower than at any point since December 2000; and wage growth and inflation are resolutely tepid. Initially, the agency showed the sector adding jobs in March, but Friday's release shows that employment in the industry remained flat at 1,135,500 jobs in both February and March.

Economic analysts had predicted a gain of more than 190,000 jobs in April.

"It would seem as employers add roughly 200,000 jobs to the economy each month, that they're now tapping into populations that might not have been their first go to for a job candidate than say a year ago", Barrera said.

The low unemployment rate means that the still-depressed levels of participation in the work force are hard to chalk up to a shortage of jobs. Still, the data will probably keep the central bank on track to raise interest rates in June for the second time this year and once or twice more after that in 2018.

The economy has been invigorated by the "Trump effect"-a boost to confidence in the economy linked to Trump's cuts to regulations, taxes, and planned investment in infrastructure".

The report indicates another month of solid job gains for an economy that has been expanding for nearly nine years. An acceleration could force Fed officials to raise rates more aggressively, which would raise the cost of vehicle loans and credit card debt. For prime-age workers, or people in the age group of 25 to 54, it dipped to 82 percent from 82.1 percent, led by a drop among women.



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