Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 3rd 2016 Contents A17
Saturday, September 3, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
slowed their hiring in August after
two blockbuster months and barely
raised their workers pay, a pull-
back that may lead the Federal
Reserve to leave interest rates alone
until late this year.
But several surveys suggest that
Americans are growing more opti-
mistic about the job market, a trend
that could boost spending and ener-
gise the economy in coming
Employers added 151,000 jobs in
August, a modest gain after an
increase of 275,000 in July, the most
in eight months, and 271,000 in
June. The unemployment rate
remained at 4.9 per cent for a third
straight month, the Labor Depart-
ment reported yesterday.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
and other Fed officials highlighted
the economy s improvement at a
conference last month. Vice Chair
Stanley Fischer suggested that the
job market was close to full health,
an assessment that typically might
prompt a rate hike.
Yet the August job figures may
lead the Fed to hold off at its next
meeting, September 20-21, and
await further economic data.
Investors foresee only a 21 per cent
chance of a rate increase this month,
according to futures markets, down
from 24 per cent on Thursday.
The Fed held its benchmark
short-term rate at a record low near
zero for seven years to support the
economy after the financial crisis
erupted in 2008. Its policymakers
raised their key rate modestly in
December but have stood pat since.
Lower rates can encourage more
borrowing and spending and there-
by stimulate the economy.
Stock investors seemed pleased
that yesterday s modest jobs data
might have lessened the likelihood
of a September Fed rate increase.
Higher borrowing rates tend to
weigh down stock prices. The Dow
Jones Industrial Average closed up
about 73 points.
If a relatively tepid pace of hiring
keeps the Fed on the sidelines, the
continuation of ultra-low rates could
sustain growth, some analysts sug-
"This is a healthy thing if the
(job) gains slow down a little bit,
because that reduces the risk that
the Fed will quickly raise rates and
choke off the expansion," said Josh
Wright, chief economist at iCIMS,
a recruitment software company
and former Fed staffer.
Still, modest hiring means it could
take longer to fully heal the scars
of the Great Recession. The pro-
portion of Americans who are either
working or looking for work has
been flat for about two years but is
still near a 40-year low.
The nation s 4.9 per cent unem-
ployment rate also remains low. A
broader barometer, which counts
not only the officially unemployed
but also part-time workers who
want full-time work and people
who have given up their job hunts,
is 9.7 per cent. That s down from
a peak of 17.4 per cent in 2009, just
after the recession ended.
The steady hiring of the past six
years appears to be imbuing Amer-
icans with a brighter outlook, a shift
from the widespread gloom that
long persisted even as the economy
The Conference Board s con-
sumer confidence survey this month
found that the percentage of Amer-
icans who consider jobs "plentiful"
has reached a nine-year high. And
overall confidence has touched an
In addition, a survey released yes-
terday by Rutgers University showed
that Americans are more confident
that they could find a job if neces-
sary than they were two years ago.
Nearly 70 per cent of respondents
said they are very or somewhat con-
fident they could land another good
job. That figure barely rose in the
first four years of the recovery but
is now up from 53 per cent in 2014.
"It s the best news from an atti-
tude standpoint that we ve seen in
our workforce since the recession
began," said Carl Van Horn, director
of the Heldrich Center for Workforce
Development at Rutgers. "As people
become more confident, they will
probably spend more."
A Gallup survey released last
month reported that the percentage
of Americans who say their employ-
ers are hiring has reached the highest
level since Gallup began asking the
question in 2008.
Still, worker pay hasn t acceler-
ated nearly as much as in previous
economic recoveries. Average hourly
wages barely rose in August and
has increased just 2.4 per cent over
the past 12 months.
That figure masks wide variations
among industries and occupations.
Recruiting firm Robert Half esti-
mates that pay will grow much
faster next year for in-demand tech-
nology professionals. Starting
salaries should jump 6.4 per cent
for data scientists, 6.2 per cent for
web developers and 5.7 per cent for
network security engineers, the firm
estimates based on surveys of
Pay has lagged in the past year
for shipping and warehouse workers,
retail employees and factory work-
ers, according to government data.
But pay is rising for some lower-
paying jobs, particularly at restau-
Scott Gittrich, CEO and Founder
of Toppers Pizza, said his company
has become so desperate to attract
drivers in some cities that they ve
increased pay up to 15 per cent. The
company has 76 restaurants in 13
states and plans to open eight more
within six months.
"Wages are getting pressured
across the board," Gittrich said.
"We re paying above minimums in
most markets." (AP)
US hiring slowed in August,
yet Americans' outlook brightens
waits in line to
apply for a job
with Aldi at a
job fair in Miami
as the US
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