Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

As Unemployment Rate Drops to Five-Decade Low, Pace of U.S. Economic Growth Watched Closely PNC Economist: Country Will Avoid Recession

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

As Unemployment Rate Drops to Five-Decade Low, Pace of U.S. Economic Growth Watched Closely PNC Economist: Country Will Avoid Recession

Article excerpt

The national unemployment rate in September fell to a new five-decade low of 3.5%, and many of the industries that saw job growth are those where the Pittsburgh region has a concentration, particularly education, health care, and business and professional services.

"The national economy is still expanding, although it has seen a bit slower growth. But Pittsburgh is tied to what happens nationally, and as long as the national economy continues growing, the Pittsburgh economy will continue to grow," Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Bank, said Friday.

U.S. employers added 136,000 jobs last month, although hiring has slowed this year as the U.S.-China trade war intensified. Also, global growth has slowed and businesses have cut back on investment spending. Even so, hiring has averaged 157,000 in the past three months, enough to absorb new job seekers and lower employment over time.

Mr. Faucher said Pittsburgh's education, health care, and business and professional services industries are still expanding, but the region will see slower growth because of a tighter job market.

"Although job growth will slow, the U.S. economy should avoid a recession," he said.

Based on a number of factors - job growth decent but slowing, a contraction in manufacturing, the ongoing trade war and low inflation - he predicts the Federal Reserve will cut the fed funds rate by 0.25 percentage points when it meets on Oct. 29 and 30, to a range of 1.50% to 1.75%.

Markets ended the day up. The S&P 500 index rose 1.42%. The Dow gained 1.42%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.40%.

Despite the ultra-low unemployment rate, which dropped from 3.7% in August, average hourly wages slipped by a penny, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly jobs report.

With the U.S. economic expansion in its 11th year and unemployment low, many businesses have struggled to find the workers they need. That is likely one reason why hiring has slowed since last year. But it's likely not the only reason.

Manufacturers have essentially fallen into recession as U. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.