WASHINGTON — U.S. employers extended a streak of solid hiring in May, adding 223,000 jobs and helping lower the unemployment rate to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent. The Labor Department says average hourly pay rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier, a slightly faster annual rate than in April. But pay growth remains below levels that are typical when the unemployment rate is this low. Still, the report shows that the nearly 9-year old economic expansion — the second-longest on record — remains on track. Employers appear to be shrugging off recent concerns about global trade disputes. The job market is also benefiting a wider range of Americans: The unemployment rate for high school graduates reached 3.9 percent, a 17-year low. For black Americans, it hit a record low of 5.9 percent. The solid hiring data coincides with other evidence that the economy is on firm footing after a brief slowdown in the first three months of the year. The economy grew at a modest 2.2 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter, after three quarters that had averaged roughly 3 percent annually. Some economists remain concerned that the Trump administration’s aggressive actions on trade could hamper growth. The… Read full this story
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