USA job growth seen accelerating; strong annual wage gain expected

U.S. Employment Costs Rise More Than Forecast as Pay Jumps

U.S. Employment Costs Rise More Than Forecast as Pay Jumps

That compared with the median estimate of economists for a 0.7 percent increase.

The employment cost index, a broad gauge monitored by the Federal Reserve, increased 0.8 percent in the July-September period from the prior quarter, according to a Labor Department report Wednesday.

Wages and salaries, which account for 70 percent of employment costs, jumped 0.9 percent in the third quarter after climbing 0.5 percent in the prior period.

The Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment report on Friday also showed the unemployment rate was steady at a 49-year low of 3.7 percent as 711,000 people entered the labor force, in a sign of confidence in the jobs market. The ECI is widely viewed by policymakers and economists as one of the better measures of labor market slack.

But acceleration in employment growth likely was tempered by Hurricane Michael, which struck Florida in mid-October. It is also considered a better predictor of core inflation. There are a record 7.1 million job openings in the economy. The annual increase is expected to surpass 3 percent in October's figures, which would be the first gain at that pace since 2009. That followed a 2.9 percent gain in the year to June. They were up 2.6 percent in the 12 months through September after rising 2.9 percent in the year to June.

USA companies added jobs in October at the healthiest pace in eight months, and wages rose by the most in a decade, the latest evidence of the durable strength of the US job market.

"How hot is the labor market?"

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"The strength in the ADP report supports our view that the underlying trend in the labor market remains upbeat", said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in NY.

Some economists said Fed officials were likely to view the low unemployment and rising wages as modestly inflationary.

The increase was led by improving pay for private-sector workers.

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent, matching a 17-year low hit in August. The personal consumption expenditures price index excluding the volatile food and energy components has increased 2.0 percent for five straight months. The Standard & Poor's 500 index .SPX dropped 6.9 percent in October, the biggest decline in seven years.

That is seen supporting the economy through at least early 2019 when gross domestic product is expected to significantly slow as the stimulus from the Trump administration's $1.5 trillion tax cut package fades. The services sector did the most hiring, with the biggest expansion coming in trade, transportation, and utility companies.

Economists and investors expect the Fed to continue gradually raising interest rates, including a December increase that would be the year's fourth.

Manufacturing expanded by 17,000 jobs and construction gained just as many. This article is strictly for informational purposes only.

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