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The buoyant and largely better than expected non-farm payrolls gave a modest boost to the dollar with the greenback gaining about 50 points against the euro and 20 versus the yen in the first half hour after the release.
Payrolls at 201,000 beat the consensus estimate by 10,000 but the equal downward revision to the July number left the two-month total flat. The headline U-3 unemployment rate, which only counts as unemployed those who have looked for work in the prior month was stable at 3.9%. The more realistic U-6 rate, charting those who have sought work in the past year, improved slightly to 7.4% from 7.5% in July. Wages jumped 0.4% in August double the prediction, the highest single-month gain this year. More importantly for the overall consumer economy, the annual increase in hourly earnings ran to 2.9%, 0.2% over estimates and the highest yearly gain in nine years. It may be that labor shortages are finally forcing employers to boost wages to attract workers. In a somewhat discordant note, the labor force participation rate fell 0.2% to 62.7%. After the solid improvement over the last year and a half, the tightening labor market was expected to begin drawing the long-term unemployed back into the labor force. Manufacturing payrolls unexpectedly dropped by 3,000 in August and July's figure was revised down by 18,000 giving a two-month underperformance of 42,000. Factory employment may be cooling somewhat after its best two year run in over two decades.