Jobs Report Delivers for Trump But Unlikely to Sway Midterms

A man works on a 2012 Jeep Wrangler at the Chrysler Toledo Assembly complex in Toledo Ohio

USA job growth rebounded sharply in October and wages recorded their largest annual gain in 9-1/2 years, pointing to further labor market tightening that could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again in December.

Job gains occurred in health care, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing.

Average hourly earnings for private workers advanced 3.1% from a year earlier and the unemployment rate was unchanged from September at 3.7%, both matching projections.

"The moderate improvement in wage growth keeps the Fed on track to hike again in December, and enables them to transition to a slower pace of rate increases next year", economist Mickey Levy of Berenberg Capital Markets said before the report was released.

"The report shows a booming US economy with a sufficient whiff of wage inflation to keep the Fed on track to raise rates in December and at least twice next year", said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds in NY.

"The fact is that there's 1.3 million people who were so discouraged that they weren't in the labor force that are back in and majority have a job now". Construction expanded by 30,000 roles, almost half of which focus on residential homes. According to estimates by Shipley of Evercore ISI, the replacement of retiring baby boomers, who likely were in their peak earnings years, with lower-paid, younger workers is depressing the annual rise in average hourly earnings by some 0.6 percentage point.

"Average wages are finally starting to pick up, especially for some lower-skilled positions", said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor. But for now, inflation remains right around the Federal Reserve's target of 2 percent. "Meanwhile, the housing sector, another weather-sensitive industry, also registered job gains this month".

Nonfarm payrolls rose 250,000 after a downwardly revised 118,000 gain, a Labor Department report showed Friday.

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"We're going to continue to see solid job gains".

Sluggish worker pay gains despite the healthy U.S. jobs market had baffled economists, and the gain now is well above the 2.3% pace of consumer inflation.

In years when the economy is performing poorly, the issue of jobs tends to poll much higher as a top concern.

On the wages front, last month's 3.1% growth rate after years of stagnant paychecks was somewhat inflated since wages declined in October 2017 as low-wage workers returned to their jobs following a particularly strong hurricane season. The government said the USA has not created as many manufacturing jobs in October since 1998. The latest numbers "may look good" but should be considered alongside other economic policies, he said. "My view is a federal minimum wage is a awful idea". The 3.0 percent unemployment rate for individuals with some college or an associate degree is the lowest it has been since July 2001. "And if all businesses do that at the same time, that's inflation", Adams said. GOP candidates in heavily Republican states and House districts have followed Trump's lead, largely abandoning tax cuts and economic growth as election issues. There were 1.5 million marginally attached workers in the USA labor force, little different from a year earlier.

"You can't work on a jobs site if it's underwater", said Robert Frick, corporate economist at the Navy Federal Credit Union in Virginia.

Hasset said Trump respects the independence of the Fed.

The stimulus "is driving strong growth, but we have a almost trillion dollar deficit and at some point we have to pay for that", said Stevenson, who is now an associate professor at the University of MI. "I know what kind of work it takes to earn more money, and it's really paying off".

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