Another month of solid US hiring suggests more big Fed hikes

Oct 6, 2022, 9:01 AM | Updated: Oct 7, 2022, 9:38 am
FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The ...

FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
            
              FILE - Construction workers fasten the frame of a new building, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Miami. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
            
              FILE - Bartender Denis Angelov carries plates of food from the kitchen, behind, at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Provincetown, Mass. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
            
              FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine.  The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers slowed their hiring in September but still added 263,000 jobs, a solid figure that will likely keep the Federal Reserve on pace to keep raising interest rates aggressively to fight persistently high inflation.

Friday’s government report showed that hiring fell from 315,000 in August to the weakest monthly gain since April 2021. The unemployment rate dropped from 3.7% to 3.5%, matching a half-century low.

The Fed is hoping that a slower pace of hiring would eventually mean less pressure on employers to raise pay and pass those costs on to their customers through price increases — a recipe for high inflation. But September’s job growth was likely too robust to satisfy the central bank’s inflation fighters.

Last month, hourly wages rose 5% from a year earlier, the slowest year-over-year pace since December but still hotter than the Fed would want. The proportion of Americans who either have a job or are looking for one slipped slightly, a disappointment for those hoping that more people would enter the labor force and help ease worker shortages and upward pressure on wages.

The jobs report “was still likely too strong to allow (Fed) policymakers much breathing room,” said Matt Peron, director of research at Janus Henderson Investors.

Likewise, Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said she didn’t think September’s softer jobs and wage numbers would stop the Fed from raising its benchmark short-term rate in November by an unusually large three-quarters of a point for a fourth consecutive time — and by an additional half-point in December.

On Wall Street, stocks tumbled Friday morning — a sign that investors foresee more aggressive Fed rate hikes ahead. The S&P 500 index sank 1.9% in early trading. And the yield on the 2-year Treasury note, which tends to track expectations for Fed actions, rose to 4.31% from 4.26% late Thursday.

The public anxiety that has arisen over high prices and the prospect of a recession is also carrying political consequences as President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party struggles to maintain control of Congress in November’s midterm elections.

In its epic battle to rein in inflation, the Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate five times this year. It is aiming to slow economic growth enough to reduce annual price increases back toward its 2% target.

It has a long way to go. In August, one key measure of year-over-year inflation, the consumer price index, amounted to 8.3%. And for now, consumer spending — the primary driver of the U.S. economy — is showing resilience. In August, consumers spent a bit more than in July, a sign that the economy was holding up despite rising borrowing rates, violent swings in the stock market and inflated prices for food, rent and other essentials.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has warned bluntly that the inflation fight will “bring some pain,” notably in the form of layoffs and higher unemployment. Some economists remain hopeful that despite the persistent inflation pressures, the Fed will still manage to achieve a so-called soft landing: Slowing growth enough to tame inflation, without going so far as to tip the economy into recession.

It’s a notoriously difficult task. And the Fed is trying to accomplish it at a perilous time. The global economy, weakened by food shortages and surging energy prices resulting from Russia’s war against Ukraine, may be on the brink of recession. Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned Thursday that the IMF is downgrading its estimates for world economic growth by $4 trillion through 2026 and that “things are more likely to get worse before it gets better.”

Powell and his colleagues on the Fed’s policymaking committee want to see signs that the abundance of available jobs — there’s currently an average of 1.7 openings for every unemployed American — will steadily decline. Some encouraging news came this week, when the Labor Department reported that job openings fell by 1.1 million in August to 10.1 million, the fewest since June 2021.

On the other hand, by any standard of history, openings remain extraordinarily high: In records dating to 2000, they had never topped 10 million in a month until last year.

Last month’s decline in unemployment was widely shared across demographic groups. The jobless rate for Hispanics tumbled to 3.8%, the lowest level in government records dating to 1973. Unemployment for Black Americans also fell, from 6% in August to 5.8% in September, still above its record low of 5.1% in November 2019.

In September, restaurants and bars added 60,000 jobs, as did healthcare companies. State and local governments cut 27,000 jobs. Retailers, transportation and warehouse companies reduced employment modestly.

Many Americans appear to have decided that there are still plenty of jobs available and that they can take their time accepting one. Among them is Jenny Savitscus of Columbus, Ohio, who recently earned a technology certificate at a program run by Goodwill. Savitscus, 45, who’d like a job in high technology, said she’s willing to hold out for an employer that will offer flexible hours and work-at-home options.

“There are opportunities out there,” she said. “Employers and job seekers are trying to find the right balance” between work and home life. She said she can afford to wait for just the right position because she has two part-time teaching jobs.

Friday’s government report underscored how resilient the job market remains even if it may be slowing.

“The U.S. labor market continues to decelerate, but there are no signs that it’s stalling out,” said Nick Bunker, head of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab. “Payroll growth is no longer at the jet speed we saw last year, but employment is still growing quickly.”

Radial, a company that powers the online businesses for Lucky Brands, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, is one employer that is hiring more cautiously. The company plans to hire 15,000 seasonal workers at its 25 warehouses — 7,000 fewer than a year ago — and 2,000 at its customer-service centers, said Sabrina Wnorowski, chief human resource officer for Radial, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Wnorowski said the company’s more moderate approach to hiring reflects a renewed focus on adding workers closer to the peak of the holiday season to make them more productive. She noted that online sales growth is slowing and that the tight job market appears to be weakening a bit. Peloton, for example, the maker of high-end exercise equipment, announced Thursday that it is cutting 500 jobs — 12% of its workforce.

Yet some companies continue to plow ahead with hiring. Walt Rowen, president of Susquehanna Glass Co. in Columbia, Pennsylvania, said the company, which makes decorative glass products, needs around 15 seasonally workers along with a full-time staff of 40 to 45. Rowen has raised entry-level pay from around $9 an hour before the pandemic to $14 an hour and yet still struggles to fill vacancies.

“It’s getting harder and harder,” he said. “You used to be able to interview 10, bring in five and keep three. Now we’re interviewing 20, getting five and keeping one.”

____

AP Business Writers Anne D’Innocenzio in New York and Christopher Rugaber in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Judge, pot shop robbery...
Associated Press

Washington state man charged in 34-year-old Wisconsin murder

A Washington state man has been charged in the 1988 slaying of a Wisconsin woman after he was identified using "familial DNA searching"
19 hours ago
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)...
Associated Press

District to pay $5M over teen’s death at football practice

A Washington school district will pay $5.25 million to the family of a high school student who died from a heart attack during a 2018 football practice.
19 hours ago
Nina Fernandez, whose son is an inmate at Ely State Prison, speaks to television reporters during a...
Associated Press

No food in 9 days for 19 Nevada prisoners on hunger strike

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Through stifled sobs, Nina Fernandez described on Friday a different version of events than those shared by Nevada prison officials as to why her son and dozens of others have been on hunger strike at a maximum-security prison for more than a week. The Nevada Department of Corrections has said the […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Crimina...
Associated Press

Jury goes a week with no verdict at Weinstein rape trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurors at the Los Angeles rape and sexual misconduct trial of Harvey Weinstein have been deliberating for a week without reaching a verdict. The jury of eight men and four women went home Friday afternoon and will return to resume deliberations on Monday morning. They must decide on two counts of […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Retired Air Force Col. Joseph W. Kittinger Jr., smiles during his induction into the Aviatio...
Associated Press

Joseph Kittinger, who set longtime parachute record, dies

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Retired Air Force Col. Joseph Kittinger, whose 1960 parachute jump from almost 20 miles (32 kilometers) above the Earth stood as a world record for more than 50 years, died Friday in Florida. He was 94. His death was announced by former U.S. Rep. John Mica and other friends. The […]
19 hours ago
In this image taken from El Paso County District Court video, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, center, sit...
Associated Press

Warnings on gay club shooter stir questions about old case

DENVER (AP) — A California woman who warned a judge last year about the danger posed by the suspect in the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooting said Friday that the deaths could have been prevented if earlier charges against the suspect weren’t dismissed. Jeanie Streltzoff — a relative of alleged shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich — […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Another month of solid US hiring suggests more big Fed hikes