U.S. Shown to Add 304,000 Jobs in January in Stellar Jobs Report

The U.S. economy, surpassing expectations, added 304,000 jobs in January, indicating the economy remains as strong as it has been in recent months. Economists had been expecting gains of about 180,000 new jobs for the month.

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 3.9% to 4%, mainly due to the government shutdown. The U.S. government was closed from December 22, 2018 until January 25, 2019 in the longest shutdown in the nation’s history. As a result, the number of Americans who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 175,000.

The figure includes furloughed federal employees classified as unemployed under the definitions used the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government agency that issues the monthly employment report.

Wages ticked up slightly, as average hourly earnings increased by 3 cents to $27.56. Over the year hourly earnings have grown by 85 cents, or 3.2%. The labor force participation rate, the mark that measures the percentage of working class Americans either employed or actively seeking employment, remained virtually unchanged at 63.2%. It has grown by half a percentage point over the last year.

Industries showing the strongest gains were leisure and hospitality with 74,000 new jobs added, construction with 52,000 new jobs added, and health care with 42,000 new jobs added. Professional and business services also showed strong gains with 30,000 and 21,000 positions added respectively.

President Donald Trump touted the news in a tweet Friday morning. “JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!,” the President wrote on Twitter.

Economists had feared that ongoing trade tensions with China could put a damper on business investment. So far however, those concerns seem to have been kept at bay.

President Donald Trump is optimistic that a bilateral trade deal currently under negotiation between the U.S. and China will be a boon for American businesses. “China’s representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table,” the President wrote on Twitter last week.

No deal will be finalized however until after the President and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet face to face to discuss outstanding issues. The President said a meeting between the two leaders is scheduled to take place in the “near future.”

President Trump has set March 1 as a deadline for a trade deal with China to be completed before new sanctions against China are issued and existing ones are strengthened.

Photo by Bryan Mason via Flickr

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These Industries Can’t Find Workers to Fill Job Vacancies

The U.S. is in the midst of one of the longest economic growth periods in its history. So strong is the job market in fact, that several industries are struggling to fill empty posts. Some of the industries having the toughest time filling openings are listed below.

-The construction industry has been facing a labor shortage for years. Younger workers are not interested in replacing a workforce that is aging even though construction is in an industry that pays well and its jobs often don’t require a college degree.

-The farming industry is also experiencing an acute labor shortage. Few Americans are interested in working farm jobs at the wages they are offered. The federal government does have a guest worker program for agriculture jobs by which foreign nationals can come to the U.S. and work temporarily for a period of up to a year. Many farmers complain that the program is too expensive for them to avail themselves of however.

-There are currently 51,000 unfilled positions in the trucking industry, and that number is expected to rise to 100,000 by 2021 according to USA Today. Younger generations of drivers are reluctant to replace older drivers because of the long hours and the amount of travel associated with the job.

-The nation is currently facing a shortage of 911 dispatchers. Some of the reasons contributing to the shortage in the industry include the lack of resources in some local governments to train and pay workers as well as the unwillingness of some candidates to deal with the stresses of the job.

The unemployment rate is currently at 3.9% in the U.S., the lowest point it’s been in nearly twenty years.

Photo by Sean Worrell via The U.S. Air Force

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July Jobs Report Shows U.S. Economy Continues to Grow

The U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9% in a jobs report that was below analysts’ expectations but still showed an economy humming along. Experts had expected job gains of 190,000 for the month.

Among the sectors adding the most positions were manufacturing with 37,000, health care and social assistance with 34,000 jobs and food services with 26,000. Construction, an industry often seen as a barometer for economic activity added 19,000 jobs for the month and has added 308,000 positions over the year.

Despite missing analysts’ expectations, the report still highlights positive economic developments. Wages continue to climb, albeit modestly. Average hourly earnings for U.S. employees rose by 7 cents to $27.05.

In another positive development, the jobs number for the two previous months – already strong months – were revised further upward. Positions for May were revised upward from +244,000 to +268,000 and June from +213,000 to +248,000.

July marked the 94th straight month of positive job growth in the U.S. The U.S. will achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019.

Photo by Marcin Wichary via Flickr

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1 in 5 Business Owners Say Finding Workers Single Biggest Problem

Small business owners are continuing to hire at near-record levels, according to a monthly jobs report published by the National Federation of Independent Business. Sixty-three percent of owners reported either hiring or attempting to hire new employees in the last month, an increase of five points from the previous month, and the highest level of activity in nearly twenty years.

A seasonally-adjusted 20% of businesses owners also plan to create new jobs, up two points from May, according to the NFIB.

“Small business owners, once again, are continuing to be the driving force of our economy by hiring at record levels and adding new jobs,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “The number of owners hiring or looking for workers strengthened.”

The number one challenge for small businesses owners is hiring qualified workers. Twenty-one percent of owners say finding qualified workers to fill job openings was their “single most important business problem.” Thirty-six of business owners claimed job openings they could not fill, matching a record high not seen since November 2000.

As a result, 31% of owners surveyed said they raised compensation in order to make their job offers more competitive.

“Right now, more firms are looking for workers than workers looking for a job,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The competition for existing workers has tightened the labor market for both skilled and unskilled workers.”

Owners also said they would be investing in more resources for training of both new and existing employees.

The job market continues to keep up its blistering pace. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs in June, showing an economy that is growing at near-record levels.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 4% from 3.8%, but even that news was viewed as a positive, as about 601,000 Americans have re-joined the workforce, which is the reason the rate rose. The market is so strong, many people who had previously given up looking for work have started again.

June marked the 93rd straight month of positive job growth in the U.S. and the current economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history.

Photo by Dave Faytinger via U.S. Air Force

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Unemployment Rate at Lowest Rate in 18 Years

The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in May, beating expectations and delivering a positive jobs report, indicating a bustling economy. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, the lowest it’s been since 2000.

Economists had been expecting an addition of 190,000 and the unemployment rate remaining steady at 3.9%.

Perhaps the most positive news in the report can be found in the wage-growth data. Although the rise in wage growth has been lower than in previous periods of such low unemployment, it still managed to slightly beat expectations. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% beating forecasts of 0.2%. It’s now up 2.7% over the past year. It was expected to remain steady at 2.6%.

Historically, the rate of wage growth in a period of such low unemployment has been about 4%.

The rise in wage growth also indicates employers are having a hard time filling open positions, leading them to increase wages.

The low unemployment and slight uptick in wages leads many to believe the Fed will raise interest rates in the coming months to head off an overheating economy.

Last month the number of unemployed Americans came into balance with the number of open positions waiting to be filled. There are roughly 6.3 million unemployed Americans according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and about 6.5 million job openings.

The ratio of jobless Americans to job openings has been cut nearly in half since the beginning of the great recession in 2007. At that time there were 1.9 unemployed Americans for every job opening.

May is the 92nd straight month of positive job growth in the U.S. and the current economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history. The U.S. will achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019.

Photo via Library of Congress

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Vermont Will Pay You $10,000 to Move There – And Work from Home

Vermont Governor Phil Scott has signed a bill into law that calls for the state to pay individuals to move there and telecommute to out-of-state work. The program, called the New Remote Worker Grant Program allocates $5,000 per worker per year, and a total of $10,000 per worker over the life of the program.

Funds can be used for purposes such as relocation expenses, computer software and hardware, internet access, or membership in a co-working space.

The Vermont State Legislature allocated $125,000 for the program for the first year it goes into effect, 2019. It allocated $250,000 for 2020, $125,000 for 2021 and then $100,000 for each year beyond that as long as funding remains available.

The program is aimed at shoring up the state’s shrinking tax base. “We recognize the need to recruit people to the state, and this is one of those efforts,” Joan Goldstein, Vermont’s commissioner of economic development told CNN.

The state also launched a “Stay to Stay Weekends” program, which encourages the state’s tourists to relocate there. As part of the weekend package interested individuals meet with potential employers, other Vermonters and state officials who show you around the state and discuss employment or other networking opportunities with you during your stay.

Some 13 million tourists visit the state each year.

Vermont is the latest state to offer potential residents a financial incentive to relocate there, the result of a trend going on for years that has seen young professionals leave small states for big cities. Now those states are facing several economic problems as a result: declining tax revenue and open jobs but no one to fill them.

Hamilton, Ohio is offering new residents $5,000 to help pay your student loans. Grant County, Indiana, will give people who move there $5,000 toward the purchase of a new home. North Platte, a city of about 24,000 in central Nebraska, is offering up to $10,000 to new workers who move there.

The Great Recession of 2007 spurred the movement of younger Americans from rural areas to big cities. Since that time the population of 25 to 54-year-olds (workers in their prime years) has increased by 6% in large metropolitan areas. It stayed the same in small cities and fell in towns and rural areas, however.

In years after the recession the lower population levels didn’t pose a problem; jobs were scarce anyway. But with the economy now running at near-full steam, the problem is unignorable.

The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 3.8%, the lowest it’s been since 2000. Economists predict an unemployment rate of 3.6% by next year, which would make it the lowest in fifty years. A trend that is likely to exacerbate employment-shortage problems.

“Low unemployment rates, everyone thinks of that as a good thing and it is, but there’s a downside,” said Mike Allgrunn, an economist at the University of South Dakota. “Eventually you run out of people to do the work.”

Photo by Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons

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U.S. Job Openings Now Equal Unemployed

U.S. job openings now nearly match unemployed workers, according to Labor Department data and Bloomberg News.

The April jobs report showed that the U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs. Jobs figures for February were revised slightly downward but were revised significantly upward for March. The net gain was an additional 30,000 jobs over previous estimates. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%, the lowest it’s been since 2000.

The numbers mean there are roughly 6.3 million unemployed Americans according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to data released today, there are about 6.5 million job openings in the U.S., putting the number of unemployed Americans roughly on par with the number of positions waiting to be filled.

The ratio of unemployed Americans to job openings has been cut nearly in half since the beginning of the great recession in 2007. At that time there were 1.9 unemployed Americans for every job opening.

Openings rose in the construction, retail, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality sectors, but fell in manufacturing, finance and insurance.

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 U.S. will achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019.

Photo by Amtec Staffing via Flickr

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U.S. Expansion Becomes Second-Longest on Record

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 is set to decide, in a two-day meeting, whether to increase interest rates or leave them where they are.

One factor that is said to have helped the expansion is that the central bank has been borrowing less since the 2009 recession. It is believed the Fed will refrain from raising rates this time, but will raise them gradually at a later date.

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.

According to Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC, “Absent a shock like a trade war, we’re likely to become the longest expansion. This is an economy that has been growing steadily at an OK, not fantastic pace. Things are well balanced,” he said.

Business investment is often cited as a main factor for the continued growth, although it’s unclear what effect President Trump’s heightening of trade tensions with China may have.  The picture becomes more uncertain when one considers that U.S. ally Canada, as well as many European allies, are being brought into the trade conflict with China as well.

One area of the economy that has seen lackluster growth during the expansion is wage growth.  It is believed, however, that a tight labor market may lead to increasing wages in the near future.  Finding qualified workers has become such a problem that local governments have begun offering individuals financial incentives to relocate to small cities and towns to fill jobs at local firms.

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.

“It’s laying the foundation for the next recession,” said Moody Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi.  “By mid-2020, we will be most vulnerable to the next recession. It’s almost like you read the economic textbook and did the opposite of what it said to do.  It’s a real experiment — and in my view, it won’t end up well.”

Photo by OTA Photos via Flickr

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Economy Adds 313,000 Jobs in Strong February Jobs Report

The economy added a strong 313,000 jobs in the month of February beating Wall Street expectations and fueling strong gains in the stock market.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 300 points in early trading in the wake of the reports’ release.

The unemployment rate stayed the same at 4.1%, the fifth straight month it has remained at that level, and wage growth also grew at a slower-than-expected 2.6%.  But the data may be an overall positive as they eased economists’ fears of an overheating economy and climbing inflation.

This is the last jobs report that will be released before the Federal Reserve Bank decides whether to raise interest rates in a few weeks.  The Bank’s Federal Open Markets Committee meets later this month on March 20-21.  Low interest rates have been considered to be a main factor in the economy’s strong performance in recent years.

It was the second straight strong jobs report of the year as the economy added 200,000 jobs in January and November’s and December’s totals were revised upward by an additional 24,000 jobs.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta applauded the report and touted the positive data as a byproduct of Trump administration policies.

“The non-stop job creation since the election has yielded 2.9 million jobs.  For the fifth month in a row, the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%, a 17-year low…President Trump’s tax reform continues to boost economic confidence with more than 400 companies handing out bonuses, raises, or other benefits to more than 4 million Americans,” Acosta said in a statement.

Vice President Mike Pence also tied the positive economic news to the Administration’s economic initiatives.  “GREAT NEWS! 313,000 new JOBS created in February and nearly 3 million jobs added since @POTUS was elected. A year of ACTION, a year of RESULTS!” he wrote on Twitter.


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Economy Adds 200,000 Jobs According to Strong Jobs Report

The economy added 200,000 jobs in January and unemployment held at 4.1% according to the January jobs report released by the Labor Department.  November’s and December’s totals were revised upward by an additional 24,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate has dropped from 4.8% to 4.1% over the last year.  It has been at 4.1%, the lowest it’s been since December 2000, for four straight months.  The U.S. economy has added jobs for eighty-eight straight months.

Perhaps the strongest revelation is that wages have begun to rise, increasing by 2.9% versus last year.  Economists believe wages will continue to grow as the labor market tightens.

The unemployment rate is expected to fall into the mid-3% range this year, boosted by the GOP-passed tax overhaul passed in December.  The last time it was lower than this level was December 2000 when it was at 3.9%.

Economic growth however, may stay below 3%.  The economy grew at 2.3% last year, better than the 1.5% of the year before, but below the target of the 3% the current administration has set.


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