U.S. job growth likely accelerated in October after two straight months of tepid gains, with wages also picking up in a show of domestic strength that would bolster prospects for a December interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.
A Reuters survey forecast nonfarm payrolls increasing 180,000, well above the 139,000 jobs per month average for August and September. Should payroll gains meet expectations, it would add to robust automobile sales in painting an upbeat picture of the economy at the start of the fourth quarter.
With speeches from several Fed officials, including Chair Janet Yellen, suggesting a low bar for a December rate increase, economists say job gains above 150,000 in October and November would be sufficient for the central bank to lift benchmark overnight borrowing costs from near zero.
Minutes from the Fed’s Oct. 27-28 meeting and subsequent comments from Yellen have firmly put a rate hike on the table at the central bank’s upcoming Dec. 15-16 gathering.