US job growth surges, nonfarm payrolls goes up
WASHINGTON: US job growth accelerated last month after hurricane-related disruptions hurt employment in September, but there were signs that labour market momentum was slowing as annual wage gains sharply retreated.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 261,000 jobs last month as 106,000 leisure and hospitality workers returned to work, the Labour Department said in its closely watched employment report yesterday.
That was the largest gain since July last year, but was below economists' expectations for an increase of 310,000 jobs.
Data for September was revised to show payrolls rising by 18,000 instead of falling by 33,000 as previously reported.
The unemployment rate fell to near a 17-year low of 4.1 per cent because people left the labour force. Still, the data probably does little to change expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month.
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The sharp moderation in job growth in September was blamed on hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which devastated parts of Texas and Florida in late August and early September, leaving workers, mostly in lower-paying industries such as leisure and hospitality, temporarily unemployed.
Last month's acceleration in employment growth re-inforces the Fed's assessment on Wednesday that "the labour market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate despite hurricane-related disruptions".
The US central bank kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and financial markets have almost priced in an increase in borrowing costs next month.
The Fed has hiked rates twice this year.
But the return of the lower-paying industry workers held down wage growth last month. - REUTERS