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As joblessness falls, skilled workers might be hard to find

FILE In this June 21, 2018 file photo, a job applicant looks at job listings for the Riverside Hotel at a job fair hosted by Job News South Florida, in Sunrise, Fla. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September 2018 the lowest level since December 1969 — signaling how the longest streak of hiring on record has put millions of Americans back to work. Employers added just 134,000 jobs last month, the fewest in a year, the Labor Department said Friday, Oct. 5. But that figure was likely depressed by the impact of Hurricane Florence. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Are America’s employers at risk of running out of skilled people to hire?

The U.S. economy has become a seemingly perpetual job-generating machine, having steadily added workers for nearly eight years. Even with the unemployment rate now at 3.7 percent — its lowest point since 1969 — hiring hasn’t stalled. So far this year, job growth has averaged a robust 208,000 a month, up from a pace of 182,000 for all of 2017.

The trend has defied the predictions of most economists. Many have long warned that as hiring surged and unemployment fell, the pool of potential hires would shrink and trigger a bidding wire that would ignite wage gains.

It hasn’t happened. Many people are still being hired each month. And pay raises, though rising, remain modest.

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