Moody's Corporation

Strong jobs data set stage for rate hike

Strong jobs data set stage for rate hike

Hiring and wages surged last month as the unemployment rate dropped to 5%, a symbolic threshold with potential significance both for the economy and the 2016 election.

The latest jobless figure is the lowest since April 2008 and exactly half the rate from its peak in 2009 during the Great Recession. Moreover, the labor force expanded last month, unlike some previous months when the unemployment rate dropped because large numbers of people had stopped looking for work.

Signs of a strong U.S. labor market may prod the Federal Reserve next month to make its first rate hike in nearly a decade, analysts said.

The combination of solid job growth, lower unemployment and higher...