The U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs last month in a positive jobs report that indicated the country’s near-record expansion is continuing unabated. Economists were expecting an increase of about 193,000 jobs, but revisions to job figures for February (slightly downward), and March (significantly upward) means a net gain of an additional 30,000 jobs over previous estimates.
The unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%, the lowest it’s been since 2000. It had been at 4.1% for several months since last year.
In another positive sign, wages grew by 4 cents an hour and are up about 2.6% over the past year. Although, the rise is lower than it has been in previous periods of low unemployment (historically about 4%).
The current United States economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history. The streak became the second-longest on record days before the Federal Reserve Bank was set to decide, in a two-day meeting, whether to increase interest rates or leave them where they are.
It signaled that it was leaning toward raising rates, modestly, over the course of the year.
The United States will still achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019, according to research by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Possible trade war with China and how policy makers manage money after the inflation rate reached a targeted-2% rate in March may serve as possible hurdles to the milestone.
Business investment is often cited as a main factor for the continued growth.
Despite glowing remarks from economists, some also worry that the increase in spending and the tax cuts the Trump administration implemented late last year may cause the economy to overheat. While both are believed to be prime ways to spur growth, they could accelerate growth and increase inflation, which would cause the federal reserve to pump the brakes on the economy by raising interest rates.
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