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Economy Roars As Job Numbers Exceed Expectations

Bill Barlow WHYY

The American economy heated up last month. The Labor Department reported Friday a net increase of 223,000 jobs, reflecting healthy gains in a broad range of industries, from manufacturing and transportation to health care and retailing.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, its lowest level since the heady days of the dot-com boom in early 2000, according to the New York Times,  

The monthly numbers are traditionally kept under wraps by the Labor Department until their release, under rules meant to keep officials from influencing markets by discussing them publicly beforehand or immediately afterward. But in an unusual departure from protocol, President Trump hinted on Twitter more than an hour before the announcement that positive data was in store. “Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning,” he tweeted.

It was the 92nd consecutive month of job creation. Most economists expect the momentum to continue, but a deeper drop in the unemployment rate or a big bump up in average hourly earnings would stoke fears of inflation and, in turn, a more hawkish Federal Reserve.

Continue reading the main story

Fed policymakers are almost certain to raise interest rates when they meet this month, with at least one additional increase likely in the second half of 2018.

In May, average hourly earnings rose slightly, lifting the year-on-year gain to 2.7 percent. That’s healthy enough to assuage fears that wages are stagnating but not so strong as to change the Fed’s expected course.

“It was a stronger report than expected, but it wasn’t so hot as to lead the Fed to believe it’s behind the curve,” said Michael Gapen, chief United States economist at Barclays, adding that the Fed’s plans shouldn’t worry stock-market bulls. “It will keep the Fed on its gradual normalization path.”

into overdrive last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, extending the longest streak of job growth on record and echoing other recent signs of strength.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, its lowest level since the heady days of the dot-com boom in early 2000.

The net increase of 223,000 jobs reflected healthy gains in a broad range of industries, from manufacturing and transportation to health care and retailing.

2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
thousand
+300
200
100
0
+223,000
May
Monthly change in jobs

The monthly numbers are traditionally kept under wraps by the Labor Department until their release, under rules meant to keep officials from influencing markets by discussing them publicly beforehand or immediately afterward. But in an unusual departure from protocol, President Trump hinted on Twitter more than an hour before the announcement that positive data was in store. “Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning,” he tweeted.

It was the 92nd consecutive month of job creation. Most economists expect the momentum to continue, but a deeper drop in the unemployment rate or a big bump up in average hourly earnings would stoke fears of inflation and, in turn, a more hawkish Federal Reserve.

Continue reading the main story

Fed policymakers are almost certain to raise interest rates when they meet this month, with at least one additional increase likely in the second half of 2018.

In May, average hourly earnings rose slightly, lifting the year-on-year gain to 2.7 percent. That’s healthy enough to assuage fears that wages are stagnating but not so strong as to change the Fed’s expected course.

“It was a stronger report than expected, but it wasn’t so hot as to lead the Fed to believe it’s behind the curve,” said Michael Gapen, chief United States economist at Barclays, adding that the Fed’s plans shouldn’t worry stock-market bulls. “It will keep the Fed on its gradual normalization path.”


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