Payrolls rise more than forecast as wage gains hit 3.1%

Justin Sullivan  Getty Images North America

Justin Sullivan Getty Images North America

The prospect of interest rates rising faster than financial markets anticipate has roiled the USA stock market, and Friday's robust report could renew the selling on Wall Street. Add Jobs Report as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Jobs Report news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

US employers added a better-than-expected 250,000 jobs in October, soaring past expectations for an increase of 190,000 jobs in the last jobs report before the midterm elections and on the heels of an incredibly volatile month for the stock markets.

The labor market has been strong under President Trump, adding almost 4 million jobs since he took office, and consumer confidence reached almost a two-decade high in October.

"What's so impressive to me is there have been more jobs than workers every month since March of this year", said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.

By some measures, consumers are the most confident they have been in 18 years, and their spending is propelling brisk economic growth. The U.S. economy is in its 10th year of expansion, the second-longest such period on record, and October marks the 100th straight month of hiring, a record streak. Though economists have predicted that hiring will eventually slow as the pool of unemployed Americans dwindles, there's no sign of that happening yet.

The robust economy has been a comfort to Republicans and President Donald Trump, who face a potential backlash from voters in Tuesday's midterms.

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Economists had expected an increase of 10,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.9 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. In Calgary, the unemployment rate sits at 8.2 per cent, while Edmonton's is at 6.3 per cent, unchanged from September 2018.

"The risk in 2019 is that the Fed will increase the pace of rate hikes", said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM in NY. Michael had "no discernible effect" on national employment and unemployment estimates for October, the Labor Department said. That incorporates revised data for September, which saw an unusually low jobs figure thanks to Hurricane Florence.

The Fed is not expected to raise rates at its policy meeting next week, but economists believe October's strong labour market data could see the US central bank signal an increase in December. The average number of monthly jobs added from 2015 to 2016 was 211,000, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction expanded by 30,000 roles, almost half of which focus on residential homes.

Retailers barely hired, adding just 2,400 positions, possibly reflecting the Sears bankruptcy. That boosted the annual increase in wages to 3.1 per cent, the biggest gain since April 2009, from 2.8 per cent in September.

A measure of compensation that includes benefits and covers all workers, including government employees, rose 2.8 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the Labor Department report said. Nominal weekly earnings growth is an even stronger 3.4 percent over the past 12 months. So far, hiring in the manufacturing sector does not appear to have been affected by the White House's protectionist trade policy, which has contributed to capacity constraints at factories. The prime-age (25-54) labor force participation rate-which is an important indicator because it is not driven by demographics, but rather by the strength of the job market-increased by 0.4 89.0 percent among men and by 0.6 75.8 percent among women. But slower sales have started to limit home price increases, which had been running at more than twice the pace of wage gains. That trend, in turn, can accelerate inflation.

"The updated information released today suggests that the labor market remains strong and inflation remains manageable, supporting our call that the Fed will raise its key policy rate in December", Duncan said. The Fed raised its benchmark federal-funds rate in September to a range between 2% and 2.25%, and most officials signaled they expected to lift rates by another percentage point through next year.

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