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VOA Saturday September 2, 2017
US Unemployment Edges Upward to 4.4 Percent
The U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly in August and the net gain in jobs was lower than economists predicted. Friday's report from the Labor Department says the jobless rate rose one - tenth of one percent to 4.4 percent. While that is an increase, it is still close to a 16 - year low. Across the economy, there was a net gain of 156,000 jobs - tens of thousands fewer than the prior month. Wages continued to grow at a 2.5 percent annual rate. PNC Bank chief economist Gus Faucher says 'soft' wage growth is a persistent problem, but predicts a tight labor market may soon prompt employers to offer higher pay. Economic analyst Mark Hamrick of Bankrate.com says the lack of wage growth when unemployment is low is causing 'a lot of head - scratching' ((is very puzzling)) for economists. He says part of the problem is that weak growth in productivity is hurting wage growth.Hamrick adds that a flood of retirements of the baby boomer generation means younger workers, who tend to have lower wages, are taking over. Government economists who monitor unemployment say Hurricane Harvey had 'no discernable effect' on these jobless figures because the..Read more
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