U.S. Economy Created 201,000 Jobs in August, Wage Growth Hits 2.9%

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Another month for 2018 is in the rearview mirror, and another jobs report has revealed that the U.S. labor market continues to chug along at a steady pace.

Ahead of this morning's new jobs report, most projections said the USA economy added about 192,000 jobs last month.

Global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said on Thursday there were 521 tariff-related job cuts in August, but these were largely offset by the hiring of 359 workers by steel producers.

In August, factories expanded at their quickest pace in 14 years, according to a survey of purchasing managers. It is the longest streak of monthly jobs growth on record. They increased payrolls by 18,000 jobs in July.

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Trade tensions also could have dented business confidence and dampened hiring last month, Goldman Sachs says.

The United States and China have slapped retaliatory tariffs on a combined $100 billion of products since early July.

Average hourly earnings increased 0.4 per cent, or 10 cents, in August after rising 0.3 per cent in July. The annual gain followed a 2.7 percent advance in July.

"Wages have been lagging for months given the late stage of the expansion, and they're still nullified by the increase in inflation", said Robert Frick, corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union, in a statement. Wholesalers added 22,400 jobs. The health services, financial services, and education services sectors were the leading creators of new job during the month, each adding 53,000. Healthcare added 41,000; transportation and warehousing, 20,000; and leisure and hospitality, 17,000.

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Manufacturing shed 3,000 jobs in August, its worst showing in more than a year. That gauge includes part-time workers who'd prefer a full-time position and people who want a job but aren't actively looking. Of that number, 1.3 million people have been searching for work for at least 27 weeks. The tight labor market is providing more opportunities to blacks and other disadvantaged groups that traditionally have had a tougher time landing jobs.

The White House has not yet offered an explanation for why job growth has slowed.

The Labor Department's closely watched employment report published on Friday also showed slack in the jobs market was rapidly diminishing, with a broader measure of unemployment falling to a level not seen since 2001.

Wages grew at 2.9 percent in the past year, the best growth since 2009 and an encouraging sign that wages might finally be moving higher after years of sluggish gains.

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"With the tax cuts and spending increases creating a sugar high, there is little reason to expect labor demand to moderate over the rest of this year or even in the first half of next", said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.

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