Oct 5, 2018

U.S. unemployment hits 49-year low

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 134,000 jobs in September, fewer than the 185,000 economists were expecting, but the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.7%, the lowest level since 1969. Wages rose 2.8% from a year earlier.

Between the lines: Job growth took a hit from Hurricane Florence, but as former chief economist in the Obama administration and senior fellow at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Jared Bernstein tweeted, this is "another strong jobs report."

Details:

  • Job growth was strong in health care and construction sectors, while the retail sector shed jobs.
  • August was revised up to reflect the addition of 270,000 jobs, from the initial count of 201,000. There were also more jobs added in July than initially reported.
  • Every single industry saw a year-over-year increase in average hourly earnings.

Go deeper

Unemployment fell to 50-year low in 2019 but wages stagnated

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's jobs report missed expectations, but still delivered solid numbers, showing the U.S. economy added well over 100,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained near a 50-year low.

The big picture: BLS reported that the number of people who were employed part time but would rather be full-time employees declined by 507,000 over the year.

Growing divide between the two Americas

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Life in the U.S. is increasingly divided into two realities — one in which things have almost never been better and another in which it's hard to imagine them being worse.

Driving the news: Bankruptcies led more companies to announce job cuts last year than at any time in more than a decade, WSJ's Aisha Al-Muslim reports (subscription), citing data from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020

An unsettling future for millions of American jobs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. economy is besting expectations for job growth, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in several decades — but the other side of the story is that millions of jobs out there just aren't good enough.

Why it matters: Almost half of all American workers are stuck in low-wage jobs that often don't pay enough to support their lives, lack benefits and sit squarely inside the automation bullseye.