Unemployment

The bad news about historically low unemployment

A falling bar graph.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wednesday's productivity report is the latest sign that historically low U.S. unemployment may be indicating a sick, rather than a healthy economy.

What's happening: As uncertainty has increased over the U.S-China trade war and other geopolitical events, companies that have the capacity to invest in new equipment, technology or factories are holding off and hiring workers to pick up extra slack instead.

October jobs report surprises with 128,000 jobs added

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 128,000 jobs in October — more than the 75,000 economists expected — while the unemployment rate ticked higher to 3.6%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The strong numbers come despite job growth held down by the 40-day United Auto Workers strike against General Motors, which has since ended.