US unemployment rate falls to 17 years low

Published: November 04, 2017 15:10:58


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US unemployment fell to its lowest level in nearly 17 years in October, according to data released on Sunday, which President Donald Trump said was proof his policies were bearing fruit.

Job creation resumed climbing after two late-summer hurricanes hit the economy, albeit at a slower rate than expected, according to the Labour Department’s key monthly employment report.

But upward revisions to job creation in August and September meant the storms caused less damage than originally feared, making for an upbeat report.

Still, the data also showed a shrinking labour force and confirmed job creation in 2017 has lagged behind the last year of the Obama administration.

The US jobless rate fell to 4.1 per cent, down a tenth of a point from September, the lowest the US economy has seen since December 2000, according to PTI.

Employers added 261,000 net new positions as businesses reopened in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, although economists had forecast a rebound of 300,000 new jobs.

But the data for September turned out not be as bad as initially reported, with 18,000 new jobs created, rather than a loss of 33,000 positions.

Together with the upward revision for August, an additional 90,000 jobs were added for those two months.

Nevertheless, average monthly job creation now stands at 169,000 so far this year, significantly below the 192,000 monthly average recorded through October of last year.

The labour force participation rate also fell 0.4 points to 62.7 per cent and the employment-to-population ratio shrank 0.2 points to 60.2 per cent — suggesting the fall in unemployment may partly reflect a dip in the size of the work force as well as job creation.

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