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Unemployment Rate Hasn't Been This Low Since April 2000

It's now at 3.8%
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2018 7:50 AM CDT
This Sept. 6, 2017, file photo shows a tip jar with $1 and $5 bills and a penny in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(Newser) – May ushered in an 18-year low as far as the unemployment rate goes, with 223,000 jobs added and the jobless rate sinking to 3.8%. That's better than expected: Economists had anticipated a gain of 190,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to hold at 3.9%. May's rate now mirrors that of April 2000, which the Wall Street Journal notes is the lowest it's been since 1969. "The decline is likely to raise questions about the increasing tightness of the labor market," writes Chelsey Dulaney for the Journal.

She also looks at average hourly earnings, which inched up 8 cents to $26.92 in May. That's a 2.7% year-over-year increase, a hair ahead of the 2.6% expected. That "indicates the falling unemployment rate and strong pace of hiring is encouraging employers to raise pay to secure workers," she writes. The AP notes that those gains are "below the levels that are typical when the unemployment rate is this low." With upward revisions to March and April, the US has averaged 207,000 new jobs per month. (Read more unemployment rate stories.)

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