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EV Forward: Employment

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      By Andrew Szczurowski, CFAPortfolio Manager, Global Income Group, Eaton Vance Management

      Boston - The U.S. unemployment rate sits at a 50-year low of 3.6%, down from 5% three years ago.

      With over 7 million job openings and only 5.8 million unemployed workers reported for October, we think the jobless rate could fall into the low 3% range in 2020.

      Employment growth will likely slow over the coming year — not because the U.S. economy is going into a recession, but because we are running out of workers.

      As so much of the slack has already been taken out of the labor market, we expect to see average monthly gains closer to the 100,000 jobs needed to keep up with growth in the labor force, rather than the 200,000 jobs added from 2016 to 2018.

      We look for wage gains to continue to rise slowly — and wage inflation to creep higher — as employees are able to flex their muscles and companies have to fight to fill open positions.