U.S. economy added just 136,000 jobs in September, in fresh sign economy is cooling – The Washington Post

U.S. economy added just 136,000 jobs in September, in fresh sign economy is cooling – The Washington Post

The U.S. economy added a modest 136,000 jobs in September, in what is likely to be interpreted as further evidence that the country is headed for a slowdown.The pace is well-below average monthly growth last year, though the unemployment rate fell to a 50-year-low of 3.5 percent.Manufacturing has already entered a decline and consumer spending…

The U.S. economy added a modest 136,000 jobs in September, in what is likely to be interpreted as further evidence that the country is headed for a slowdown.The pace is well-below average monthly growth last year, though the unemployment rate fell to a 50-year-low of 3.5 percent.Manufacturing has already entered a decline and consumer spending is also appearing to soften, after more than a year of strength. The new report, issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that the economy lost 2,000 manufacturing jobs in September.“It’s kind of a mixed picture,” said Douglas Kruse,an economist at Rutgers University and a former White House adviser under President Obama. “The job growth was less than what Wall Street and economists were expecting, but the drop in the unemployment rate was unexpected.”The National Retail Federation warned Thursday that economic uncertainty, new tariffs and fluctuations in the stock market could derail Americans’ spending plans in the run-up to the holidays.“Payroll growth is down considerably this year,” said Nick Bunker, an economist at the jobs site Indeed. “At the same time we’re seeing wage growth isn’t picking up, despite some people’s hopes, and is declining. Those two trends are a sign that is a labor market that is slowing down. Not because we’re hitting full employment, but rather this is a slowdown for employers and a slackening in economic growth.”And economists point to other signs, including a manufacturing recession as affecting employers as they struggle to find workers in a tight jobs market.Some other sectors performed much better, however, as health care and business services added more than 70,000 jobs combined.President Trump is trying to focus part of his 2020 reelection campaign on the strength of the economy, and he immediately cheered a part of the jobs report that noted how the unemployment rate had fallen despite other weak data.Breaking News: Unemployment Rate, at 3.5%, drops to a 50 YEAR LOW. Wow America, lets impeach your President (even though he did nothing wrong!).— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2019 Wage growth also appeared to have stalled a bit, rising just 2.9 percent in the past 12 months. As the unemployment rate has fallen to historic lows, economists have watched wage data closely to see if a tight labor market would eventually lead to higher income levels.But a prime focus, both for business leaders and political leaders, continues to be the slump in manufacturing.September was the worst month for U.S. manufacturing since June 2009, according to a closely watched industry index. And concerns have grown that the manufacturing contraction could spill over into other industries. Economists have begun warning about a significant risk of a recession.The labor force participation rate — the percentage of people over the age of 16 who are working or actively looking for work — remained steady at 63.2 percent, a number below historic averages and one that has not rebounded to pre-recession levels.Wage growth declined slightly to 2.9 percent, despite the low unemployment rate. Economists continue to puzzle over
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