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US job growth slows, but wages rebound strongly
Posted on 7th January 2016
Washington: US employment increased less than expected in December but a rebound in wages pointed to sustained labour market momentum that sets up the economy for stronger growth and further interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve this year.

Non-farm payrolls increased by 156,000 jobs last month, the labour department said on Friday. The gains, however, still remain above a level that is considered sufficient to absorb new entrants into the labour market.

October and November’s data was revised to show 19,000 more jobs added than previously reported. The economy created 2.16 million jobs in 2016.

Average hourly earnings increased 10 cents or 0.4%, benefiting from a calendar quirk, after slipping 0.1% in November. That pushed the year-on-year increase in average hourly earnings to 2.9%, the largest increase since June 2009, from 2.5% in November.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7% from a nine-year low of 4.6% in November as more people entered the labour force, a sign of confidence in the jobs market.

The employment report added to data ranging from housing to manufacturing and auto sales in suggesting that president-elect Donald Trump is inheriting a strong economy from the Obama administration.

Trump, who takes over from President Barack Obama on 20 January, has pledged to increase spending on the country’s aging infrastructure, cut taxes and relax regulations. These measures are expected to boost growth this year.

But the proposed expansionary fiscal policy stance could increase the budget deficit. That, together with faster economic growth and a labour market that is expected to hit full employment this year could raise concerns about the Fed falling behind the curve on interest rate increases.

The US central bank raised its benchmark overnight interest rate last month by 25 basis points (bps) to a range of 0.50% to 0.75%. The Fed forecast three rate hikes this year.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 178,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate ticking up one tenth of a percentage point to 4.7%.

Employment growth in 2016 averaged 180,000 jobs per month, down from an average gain of 229,000 per month in 2015. The slowdown in job growth is consistent with a labour market that is near full employment.

There has been an increase in employers saying they cannot fill vacant positions because they cannot find qualified workers. The skills shortage has been prominent in the construction industry.

Even as the labour market tightens, there still remains some slack, which is holding back wage growth. The labour force participation rate, or the share of working-age Americans who are employed or at least looking for a job, rose one-tenth of percentage point to 62.7% in December.

The participation rate remains near multi-decade lows. Some of the decline reflects demographic changes.

December’s job gains were broad, with manufacturing payrolls rising 17,000 after declining for four straight months. Construction payrolls fell 3,000 in December after three consecutive months of increases.

Retail sector employment rose 6,300 after increasing 19,500 in November. Department store giants Macy’s and Kohl’s Corp this week reported a drop in holiday sales. Macy’s said it planned to cut 10,000 jobs beginning this year.

Department stores have suffered from stiff competition from online rivals including Amazon.com.

Government employment increased 12,000 in December.


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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said there was no place for Dalits and the poor in today’s India. “Dalits are being oppressed and it is happening across the country and not just in UP,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi was speaking from a dhaba at the Haryana-UP border, where some of the victims were brought with the help of local Congress leaders. Mr. Gandhi was denied permission to visit violence-hit Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh, as well as the district hospital where victims are being treated.


 
Realty major DLF's net debt has increased by nearly Rs 700 crore in January-March quarter of the last fiscal at Rs 25,096 crore as housing demand continued to be sluggish.

DLF's net debt is likely to rise further due to expenses on construction to complete ongoing projects even as sales are expected to be muted for the next few quarters.


 
India Cements Ltd today reported 32.10 per cent decline in its standalone net profit to Rs 34.28 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31.

It had reported a net profit of Rs 50.49 crore in the January-March quarter a year ago, India Cements informed BSE.


 
BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday said his party would consult opposition parties, which have been working to forge unity over a joint presidential candidate, before deciding on the ruling alliance's pick for the top constitutional post.

He, however, parried a query on whether the BJP would seek to build a consensus with the opposition.


 
Veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has sharply hit back at the media reports suggesting that he had a problem with Mahendra Singh Dhoni's selection for Champions Trophy.

The 36-year-old was quoted in an interview on Thursday by a news channel, that he does not receive similar privilege as Dhoni gets, when it comes to Team India selection.


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