Business World

Sunday 18 March 2018

US double-dip recession fears ease on jobs report

Philip Whiterow

Double-dip recession fears in the US eased today after a better-than-anticipated jobs report for September.

US firms created 103,000 jobs, against economist expectations of 60,000, but the additional hiring was not enough to lift the overall unemployment rate, which stayed at 9.1pc for the third month in a row.

The data gave markets across Europe a modest boost with the FTSE 100 Index up more than 70 points soon after the figures were released, though the UK's top flight eased back subsequently.

Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co, said: "In the big picture, today's reading soothes recessionary fears."

.The US labour department also raised its estimates for the number of jobs created in the previous two months. Non-farm payrolls, or new jobs added, rose by 57,000 in August and by 127,000 in July, according to the revised data.

But Rob Carnell, analyst at ING Bank, warned against reading too much into the figures.

He said: "Overall, this month's labour market report was as unexpectedly good as last month's was unexpectedly bad. This is still not a strong labour market."

Economists also pointed out that 45,000 of September's jobs increase came from a return to work from striking workers at telecoms firm Verizon.

Construction, healthcare, and professional and business services sectors saw the largest gains last month, while government employment edged down.

President Barack Obama has made jobs a key part of a plan to get the US economy moving again. He has proposed a $447bn initiative to create 1.9 million new jobs and cut the rate of unemployment by one percentage point.

The US Federal Reserve has also launched Operation Twist, a $400bn bond buying scheme, in a bid to drive down long-term interest rates and cut borrowing costs for firms and individuals, though many economists expect a further round of quantitative easing is also on the way as well.

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