US employers add modest 138K jobs; rate dips to 4.3 percent

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03 June, 2017

"But they might well influence what happens next", he said.

While this was below economists' expectations for 185,000 jobs and wage growth of 2.6pc, the data also showed the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest since 2001, falling to 4.3pc in May, from 4.4pc in April. Last month's decline came as people left the labour force.

Construction added 11,000 jobs while mining added 7,000.

Yet even about 100,000 payroll additions a month would be enough to further nudge down the jobless rate, and the tight market is expected to push upstill-measured wage growth, juicing spending and the economy.

The closely watched employment report was released less than two weeks before the Fed's June 13-14 policy meeting.

"This keeps the Fed on track" for a June interest-rate hike, said Feroli, who formerly worked at the central bank.

The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on the data, while U.S. government bond prices rose.

Prices of U.S. Treasuries were lower in mid-morning trading while U.S. stocks edged higher.

But payrolls increased by just 138,000.

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Fed officials have indicated they are on track for a small rate hike this month if the labor market continues to show solid growth.

Against the background of balanced risks in USA economy, Powell expected a total of three rate hikes this year, including the central bank's March rate hike.

"The loss of manufacturing jobs in May is a stark reminder of the challenges that face factory workers: declining auto sales, a persistently high goods trade deficit and muddled fiscal policies", said Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul.

The latest second-quarter gross domestic product estimate was faster than the 3.8 percent clip calculated on Tuesday, the Atlanta Fed said. In the past year, earnings have risen by 63 cents.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose only 2,500 to 238,000 last week.

There is growing anecdotal evidence of companies struggling to find qualified workers.

"The report suggests tomorrow's jobs report will support a June rate hike", said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in NY.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 211,000 to 3.3 million in May. A poor labor participation rate was one of the major criticisms launched by Republicans against Barack Obama. It has rebounded from a multi-decade low of 62.4 percent in September 2015 and economists see limited room for further gains as the pool of discouraged workers shrinks.

But economists at Moody's Analytics said the soft jobs number in May might omit summer hiring that occurred later in in the month. It's now lost jobs for five months straight.


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