What's going on?
Data released on Friday that keeps a finger on America’s jobs pulse showed that 134,00 jobs were added in September – less than the 185,000 anticipated – but that unemployment fell to an expectation-beating 3.7% (tweet this).
What does this mean?
Unemployment in September was the lowest since December 1969 (back when the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet made its public debut). Despite fewer new jobs than expected, unemployment fell – partly because the number of jobs added in August was revised up to 270,000 (from an initial report of 201,000). September’s job additions may have been slowed by the labor force participation rate – i.e. the number of people who’re employed or seeking work – remaining the same, meaning new workers weren’t joining the workforce.
Wages grew by 2.8% compared to the same time last year – and this number will likely rise going forward with big US employers like Amazon, Costco and Target increasing wages.
Why should I care?
For you, personally: Reach for the stars.
Low unemployment should be good for US workers. Companies will likely have to offer more money to attract new workers and retain current ones – but according to some, wages aren’t increasing as quickly as they should. One possible reason is that workers are being rewarded in alternative ways to their pay – like signing bonuses, health benefits, and more flexible personal leave options. Another potential reason is what’s going on below the surface: as more senior workers (likely on higher wages) retire, they’re replaced by younger (and cheaper) junior workers, which slows wage growth.
The bigger picture: The whole body’s in good shape.
On Thursday, other jobs data that looks at private sector employment was released – and more jobs were added than expected. The increase in private sector jobs probably contributed to the drop in unemployment, too. So, in the round, the US economy’s still ticking along with a mostly clean bill of health.