US businesses cast wider net as jobless rate hits 3.9 pct

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"For the second consecutive month, the unemployment rate for Hispanics reached a record low", the statement added. Job gains, low unemployment, and flexibility in labor markets have lifted household optimism about the jobs market to its highest level since the early 2000s.

USA hiring cooled in July after more-robust gains than previously reported, while the unemployment rate slipped back below 4 percent and wage increases remained subdued, reinforcing a picture of steady labor-market growth in line with the Federal Reserve's outlook for gradual interest-rate hikes.

The unemployment rate nosed down 0.1 percentage points from June, to 3.9 percent, the BLS said in its latest report issued August 3.

In terms of the larger context, this morning's data points to 1.5 million jobs created so far in 2018, which is evidence of a healthy job market, and which is an improvement on the totals from the first seven months of 2016 and 2017.

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Since the beginning of this year, the US has seen multiple economic milestones in addition to 1.5 million new jobs.

The US labour force participation rate (the share of the population 16 years and older either working or seeking work), which peaked at 67.1 percent in 2000, remained unchanged from the previous month at 62.9 percent.

A quirk in the calendar may explain why average hourly wages inched up only 7 cents from June to July, explained Josh Wright, chief economist at software firm iCIMS: The Labor Department surveys employers at a different time than when companies pay their workers.

A collective upward revision of 59,000 for May and June brought the three-month average for job creation to 224,000, faster than the growth pace seen a year ago.

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"We are bringing unemployment way below 4.5 percent, which the Fed considers full employment", she said. On the other hand, job growth for June and May have been revised up by 59,000 (to 268,000 and 248,000 respectively).

The somewhat disappointing result for the month obscures the very strong pace over the last three months, even as employers nationwide continue to complain about difficulty finding workers to fill open positions.

The jobs data released on Friday followed a report that the United States trade deficit widened in June for the first time in four months as exports fell and imports grew. That is the fewest in 11 years and means part-time workers are getting more hours.

Homebuyers are encountering higher mortgage rates, one reason that the housing market has been faltering lately even as other economic indicators like hiring have remained strong, as evidenced by the upward revisions for May and June. As usual, ambulatory healthcare services dominated healthcare hiring with its 9,900 new jobs, although that was a 27% drop from the 13,500 jobs added in June.

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