Tag Archives: Employment figures

Asian shares sink as traders look ahead to US jobs knowledge


Asian inventory markets have sunk after Wall Road rose to a excessive as traders watch for U.S. jobs knowledge for an replace on how coronavirus flareups are affecting the most important international economic system

Shanghai, Hong Kong and South Korea retreated. Tokyo was up lower than 0.1%.

Wall Road’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained after traders had been inspired Thursday by a decline in U.S. unemployment claims. They had been looking forward to Friday’s month-to-month employment report for a sign of how new illness flareups and renewed anti-disease curbs could be affecting hiring and wages.

“The roles report would be the key spotlight to finish the week” amid conflicting market indicators that “put extra uncertainty” on whether or not hiring expectations could be met, stated Yeap Jun Rong of IG in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index misplaced 0.6% to three,444.19 whereas the Dangle Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.4% to 26,093.53. Chinese language shares have been harm by a spate of anti-monopoly and knowledge safety campaigns launched by Beijing towards tech firms.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added lower than 0.1% to 27,744.24 after Japanese labor money earnings edged decrease in June for the primary time in 4 months.

The Kospi in Seoul misplaced 0.3% to three,265.92 and the ASX-S&P 200 in Sydney was little-changed at 7,510.90. New Zealand declined whereas Singapore and Indonesia superior.

On Wall Road, the S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 4,429.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Common gained 0.8% to 35,064.25. The Nasdaq climbed 0.8% to 14,895.12.

Tech, retailing and client shares rose. Banks gained as bond yields rose, giving them room to cost extra for loans. Well being care and supplies shares fell.

On Thursday, the Labor Division reported final week’s unemployment claims fell by 14,000, including to hopes for restoration within the labor market. That adopted a weak report from payroll processor ADP on Wednesday displaying the non-public sector added jobs at a slower tempo than anticipated in July.

In power markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose Eight cents to $69.17 per barrel in digital buying and selling on the New York Mercantile Change. The contract added 94 cents on Thursday to $69.09. Brent crude, the value foundation for worldwide oils, gained Eight cents to $71.37 per barrel in London. It superior 91 cents the earlier session to $71.29.

The greenback rose to 109.86 yen from Thursday’s 109.76 yen. The euro fell to $1.1824 from $1.1836.


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California jobless price falls with assist of short-term jobs


California’s unemployment price fell to 11.4% in August

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A raft of short-term authorities jobs for the U.S. Census boosted California’s financial system in August because the state added 101,900 jobs because the unemployment price fell beneath the high-water mark of the Nice Recession for the primary time since March.

However specialists warned that different indicators — together with new unemployment claims, feeble shopper spending and paltry job postings — nonetheless present the world’s fifth-largest financial system has stalled with no fast restoration in sight.

California misplaced greater than 2.6 million jobs in March and April as the federal government ordered companies to shut and other people to remain dwelling to sluggish the unfold of the coronavirus, which has killed greater than 14,700 Californians.

California, dwelling to almost 40 million individuals and the world’s fifth largest financial system, has now regained almost a 3rd of these jobs misplaced, in response to statistics launched Friday by the Employment Improvement Division.

However the unemployment price, now at 11.4%, fell partly as a result of the labor drive has declined by almost 800,000 individuals since February as mother and father had been compelled to remain dwelling with youngsters and others determined to return to highschool to be taught new expertise in a difficult job market, stated Sung Gained Sohn, professor of finance and economics at Loyola Marymount College.

“The factor about this pandemic, we have a tendency to speak concerning the averages and the jobless price and what number of jobs we’ve created,” he stated. “It is type of like saying the common depth of the Mississippi River is three ft deep. However when you attempt to stroll throughout, you would drown. And plenty of small companies are drowning.”

California has paid greater than $86 billion in unemployment advantages since March. The 13 million claims the state has processed over the previous six months are greater than triple the quantity of claims filed in 2010, the worst full 12 months of the Nice Recession.

However that cash has attracted scammers who’ve fooled the state’s laptop system to get advantages after they weren’t eligible.

Investigators introduced Thursday they’d arrested 44 individuals in Beverly Hills this month for fraud, recovering 129 debit playing cards with a price of $2.5 million. The Employment Improvement Division stated it has taken steps to right the issue.

Of the 101,900 jobs added in March, greater than 64% had been authorities jobs. Most of these had been short-term jobs for the U.S. Census whereas others could be attributed to native authorities hires as college reopened, not less than just about. Not counting the federal government jobs, California’s non-public sector added 35,800 jobs.

California outperformed the nation as a complete, with its unemployment price in August falling 2.1 share factors in comparison with July whereas the nationwide price fell 1.Eight share factors to eight.4%. Six of the state’s 11 business sectors gained jobs final month. However in comparison with August of 2019, California has misplaced almost 1.6 million nonfarm jobs.

“In some methods, it’s troublesome to know what to make of this morning’s numbers,” stated Michael Bernick, former director of the state Employment Improvement Division and an lawyer with Duane Morris. “They don’t seem to be according to the numbers we have seen over the previous month on new unemployment claims in California which have been operating very excessive.”

The most important job losses in California proceed to return from eating places and resorts and different hospitality companies, which misplaced one other 14,600 jobs in August.

Of California’s 58 counties, state officers say the coronavirus is “widespread” in 30 of them, a designation that imposes automated bans on indoor eating and different enterprise restrictions.

The numbers have been enhancing statewide, however outbreaks proceed to pop up, most notably in San Diego County, the fifth-most populous county within the nation. It’s at risk of being moved again to the “widespread” class, which might set off one other spherical of enterprise closings.

In Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous with greater than 10 million residents, the financial downturn continues to have an outsized affect due to its service and entertainment-heavy financial system and its giant variety of minority-owned small companies.

The county’s unemployment price is 16.6%, greater than 5 share factors increased than the statewide common.

California’s highest county jobless price — 22.9% — is in Imperial County within the southeastern a part of the state, bordering Arizona.


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Snow jobs: In tight labor market, ski areas up the ante


It was once {that a} free ski go was sufficient to lure employees to seasonal jobs at mountain resorts. Not.

Within the present tight labor market, ski areas throughout the nation are having a troublesome time filling jobs, so that they’re upping the ante by boosting wages, offering extra housing and providing different perks to fill these jobs earlier than the snow flies.

New Hampshire’s Wildcat is providing a $1,000 bonus for brand spanking new snowmakers to come back on board, and Sunday River in Maine final yr elevated its hourly wage from $13 to $20 for that job. Utah’s Snowbird is increasing its pool van service to get staff to the mountain, and Sugarbush in Vermont, which has among the many lowest unemployment charges within the nation, is hiring extra overseas school college students.

“It is an unlimited problem for us,” Dave Byrd of the Nationwide Ski Areas Affiliation stated of the labor challenge.

As a result of ski resorts are by their nature in mountainous areas, they’re usually removed from cities from which to attract employees. And with the nationwide unemployment fee lately hitting the bottom stage in 50 years, potential employees would slightly have full-time jobs with advantages, stated Byrd, director of threat and regulatory affairs for the Colorado-based affiliation.

“We do not have a whole lot of ski areas which can be in shut proximity to main metropolitan areas. And even once we do, just like the ski areas in Salt Lake … they’re nonetheless struggling to seek out folks,” he stated.

The nation’s roughly 460 ski resorts rent about 100,000 seasonal employees every fall, he stated. Many depend on overseas visitor employees for five% to 10% of their labor, he stated.

“We’re not in a position to fill 100% of the roles we have now out there,” he stated, including that the J-1 visa program is crucial for the ski business.

This system is meant to present overseas employees who might be students, lecturers, camp counselors and au pairs coaching and expertise in these fields in america. The ski business makes use of about 8,000 J-1 visas, Byrd stated.

This yr, Vermont’s Sugarbush is bringing on greater than 100 overseas school college students by means of this system due to the problem in filling jobs. A number of years in the past, it had nobody on J-1 visas, spokesman John Bleh stated by electronic mail. Sugarbush has additionally been growing its worker housing over the previous a number of years, in response to Bleh.

Housing might be scarce, costly or each within the distant mountainous areas or resort cities, and on-line trip rental companies have added stress to the market by gobbling up a piece of the out there property, Byrd stated.

The housing crunch makes it troublesome to be ski bum these days.

“In case you wished to be ski bum and also you need to take a spot yr after you graduate school earlier than you go on to getting an actual job, that notion of the ski bum within the 1980s and 1990s, these are laborious to seek out, these folks, as a result of housing is so enormously difficult for us within the business,” Bryd stated.

And the free mountain go that comes with the job is now not sufficient of an incentive within the period of aggressive go applications that permit skiers and snowboarders to get a discount with out working on the resort, he stated.

On high of that, potential employees can now be picky and go for a year-round job with advantages.

“When House Depot and Goal are paying $13 an hour, and the ski space 20 minutes out of city — they have to match that,” Byrd stated. “They have to compete for that labor pool.”


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164,000 jobs added in July; 3.7% unemployment


The Newest on the U.S. employment report for July (all instances native):

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8:30 a.m.

U.S. employers slowed their hiring in July, including a still-healthy 164,000 jobs to an economic system that seems poised to increase its decade-plus enlargement.

The Labor Division says the unemployment price stayed at 3.7% for a second straight month. Common hourly earnings elevated 3.2% from a 12 months in the past, up from annual good points of three% in June.

The tempo of hiring has slowed this 12 months as a rising share of Individuals have already got jobs. The three-month common for job good points was 140,000, down from 237,000 a 12 months in the past.

The U.S. economic system has confronted some tumult as President Donald Trump has escalated his commerce battle with China, but the Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to chop a short-term rate of interest to maintain the longest interval of progress in U.S. historical past.


12:05 a.m.

U.S. employers are thought to have sustained a gentle tempo of hiring in July, a reassuring signal for an economic system that is endured a collection of ups and downs.

Economists have forecast that the federal government will report that 163,000 jobs have been added in July, in keeping with information supplier FactSet. This might be roughly according to the common month-to-month achieve of 172,000 to date this 12 months, although beneath the 224,000 jobs added in June.

The unemployment price is believed to have remained at 3.7% for a second straight month, near a 50-year low.

The economic system’s total progress, together with client spending, has been strong. However enterprise funding has been declining, house gross sales have weakened and producers have proven indicators of struggling.


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US shares fall once more, becoming a member of worldwide sell-off, on tariffs


Buyers rattled by President Donald Trump’s newest escalation in his commerce struggle with China drove one other spherical of promoting on Wall Avenue Friday.

The most recent losses, which eased considerably within the ultimate hour of buying and selling, had the market on observe to shut out its worst week of the 12 months simply seven days after the benchmark S&P 500 hit an all-time excessive.

The promoting picked up a day after Trump shocked markets by promising 10% tariffs on all of the Chinese language imports that have not already been hit with tariffs of 25%. China struck again Friday, saying it would take “needed countermeasures” if Trump follows by way of on the brand new tariffs, which had been set to kick on September 1.

The re-escalation in tensions between the world’s largest economies is elevating worries a couple of world recession. Buyers responded by promoting shares and shopping for gold. In addition they raised their expectations that the Federal Reserve might be compelled to chop rates of interest a number of occasions to cushion the commerce struggle’s blow.

“We simply ratcheted up the commerce battle and now that makes the Fed more likely to chop,” stated Randy Frederick, vp of buying and selling & derivatives at Charles Schwab.

Know-how corporations accounted for a lot of the broad sell-off. Communications providers, shopper discretionary and power shares additionally bore a giant share of the losses. Buyers shifted cash into bonds and shares historically seen as much less dangerous: actual property and utilities.

The S&P 500 was down 0.6% as of three:38 p.m. Jap time, which might be its fifth straight loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Common fell 82 factors, or 0.3%, to 26,500, and the Nasdaq was down 1.3%.

The federal government launched its month-to-month jobs report on Friday, and it is normally a significant, market-moving occasion. However it hewed near economists’ expectations, exhibiting a slowdown in hiring final month, and analysts stated it was overshadowed by worries about commerce and what the Fed may do about it.

The Fed has already reduce rates of interest as soon as, doing so on Wednesday for the primary time in additional than a decade. Chairman Jerome Powell cited “commerce coverage uncertainty” as a significant motive for it in a press convention following the announcement. However he stopped wanting promising an extended cycle of price cuts, which left buyers upset and Trump tweeting that “as ordinary, Powell allow us to down.”

The subsequent day got here Trump’s tweet on tariffs, and buyers now say there is a 98% chance that the Fed will reduce charges once more at its subsequent assembly in September. That is up from a roughly 50% chance Wednesday afternoon.

Merchants see low charges as steroids for shares and different dangerous investments as a result of they make bonds much less enticing as compared. By making borrowing cheaper, low charges also can assist goose the economic system.

However the Fed has much less ammunition than up to now to chop charges as a result of they’re already low following years of practically zero rates of interest to get the economic system going. The federal funds price sits at a spread of two% to 2.25%, in contrast with the 5.25% perch it sat at earlier than the Nice Recession.

Price cuts alone additionally could not be capable of totally counteract the attainable destructive repercussions of the commerce struggle.

Commerce uncertainty has been weighing on enterprise funding spending, and this newest escalation solely provides to it. “Will probably be necessary to observe enterprise sentiment surveys to see whether or not there’s a vital influence on the demand for employees — if companies cease hiring, this is able to enormously improve the danger of a recession,” UBS World Wealth Administration’s Chief Funding Officer Mark Haefele stated in a report.

The most recent spherical of introduced tariffs, which might go into impact Sept. 1, extra immediately have an effect on U.S. customers buying at Wal-Mart or Goal. If Trump ramps them as much as 25% and retains them there for 4 to 6 months, Morgan Stanley economists say they might count on a recession inside 9 months.

The issues concerning the commerce struggle and Fed have additionally blotted out what’s been a better-than-expected earnings reporting season. Roughly three quarters of S&P 500 corporations have up to date buyers on how a lot revenue they constituted of April by way of June, and earnings for S&P 500 corporations are on tempo for a drop of 1% from a 12 months in the past. Whereas weak, that is nonetheless higher than the practically 3% drop that analysts had been earlier forecasting, in response to FactSet.

Newell Manufacturers surged 13.8% for the largest achieve within the S&P 500 after the corporate behind the Calphalon, Rubbermaid and Sharpie manufacturers reported better-than-expected earnings for the most recent quarter.

NetApp was the worst performer within the S&P 500 after the know-how firm stated that it’s going to doubtless report weaker outcomes for the most recent quarter than it had earlier anticipated. Its shares plunged 20.3%.

Treasury yields had been combined, and the 10-year yield fell to 1.85% from 1.89% late Thursday. It is near its lowest level since Trump’s election in 2016. The 2-year yield held regular at 1.71%.

Markets overseas bought off extra closely of their first alternative to commerce following Trump’s tariff tweet. In Europe, France’s CAC 40 misplaced 3.6%, and Germany’s DAX dropped 3.1%. The FTSE 100 in London fell 2.3%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index sank 2.1%, the Cling Seng in Hong Kong misplaced 2.3% and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1%.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose $1.71, or 3.2%, to settle at $55.66 a barrel, recovering a couple of third of its plunge from the day earlier than. Brent crude, the worldwide customary, gained $1.39 to shut at $61.89 a barrel.

Gold continued to climb as buyers appeared for security. It rose $27.70 to $1,445.60 per ounce. Silver rose 10 cents to $16.22 per ounce and copper fell 9 cents to $2.57 per pound.

In different power futures buying and selling, wholesale gasoline rose Three cents to $1.78 per gallon. Heating oil climbed four cents to $1.89 per gallon. Pure gasoline fell Eight cents to $2.12 per 1,000 cubic ft.

The greenback fell to 106.55 Japanese yen from 107.33 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1113 from $1.1082.


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Kohl’s kicks off hiring for back-to-school, holiday seasons


Kohl’s is launching an early wave of hires for the back-to-school through the holiday season across 500 stores, nearly double the number of early hiring positions compared with last year.

The hiring, announced on Wednesday, will kick off in August and include stores and distribution and e-commerce fulfillment centers. The department store chain is also hiring 3,000 full-time and part-time workers for all stores nationwide.

The move comes as retailers struggle to find skilled workers in a tight job market where the unemployment rate is near a five-decade low. Overall, employers have been adding jobs faster than new workers flow into the economy.

Kohl’s Corp. announced in late June a year ago it was looking for workers at 300 stores in its early wave of hires for the back half.


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Tech sector leads US stocks higher as Fed signals rate cut


Technology companies helped push U.S. stocks higher Wednesday afternoon, placing the Nasdaq composite on track for an all-time high.

The gains kicked off early as Wall Street welcomed new signals from the Federal Reserve that the central bank is ready to cut interest rates for the first time in a decade.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that many Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for a rate cut.

Powell’s remarks, which he delivered as part of his semi-annual monetary report to Congress, allayed investors’ concerns that an unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs report on Friday might give the Fed reason to stay put on interest rates.

“Investors are increasingly confident that the Fed will cut rates by a quarter-point at the end of the month, which most investors expected,” said Kate Warne, chief investment strategist at Edward Jones. “This removed a little bit of the uncertainty there, and that’s why we’re seeing stocks move higher.”

The market rallied through much of June after the Fed first signaled that it might cut rates if necessary to shore up the U.S. economy.

Wednesday’s gains briefly sent the S&P 500 index trading above 3,000 for the first time before losing some of its momentum. The benchmark index set record highs three straight days last week.

Technology companies accounted for much of the market’s gains. Micron Technology climbed 3.8% and Western Digital rose 4.7%. Communications services stocks and consumer goods makers also rose. Take-Two Interactive added 2% and PepsiCo picked up 1.8%.

Energy stocks also headed higher as the price of U.S. crude oil climbed 4%. Chevron rose 1.5%.

Bond prices rose sharply, sending the yield in the 10-year Treasury note down to 2.06% from 2.10% shortly before Powell’s remarks were released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

The drop in yields pulled bank shares lower. When bond yields decline they drive the interest rates that lenders charge for mortgages and other loans lower. Citizens Financial Group dropped 2.6%.

Industrials and materials stocks also lagged the market. Deere & Co. slid 2.1% and Corteva lost 1.6%.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% as of 3:27 p.m. Eastern time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 79 points, or 0.3%, to 26,863. The Nasdaq added 0.7% and the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rebounded from a brief slide, gaining 0.3%.

Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly lower.

SIGNALING A RATE CUT: Powell’s testified before the House Financial Services Committee. On Thursday, he appears before the Senate Banking Committee.

His testimony comes at a time when the U.S. economic landscape is mixed. While the job market appears resilient and consumer spending and home sales look solid, the economy is likely slowing. And the U.S. trade disputes have added uncertainty to the economic outlook.

In his prepared statement, Powell said that since Fed officials met last month, “uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook.” Meanwhile, inflation has fallen farther from the Fed’s target.

The Fed’s benchmark rate currently stands in a range of 2.25% to 2.5% after the central bank boosted rates four times last year. Many investors have put the odds of a rate cut this month at 100%.

A quarter-point cut in interest rates, which many investors expect, isn’t likely to have a big impact on consumers’ credit cards or mortgage rates. But it would reassure markets that the Fed would be open to further rate cuts if more signs of weakness in the global economy emerge, Warne said.

“Shifting from raising rates to lowering rates is a regime change,” she said. “The second thing is we’ve already seen long-term interest rates come down partly in expectation of the rate cut.”

SOLID QUARTER: Helen of Troy jumped 11.8% after reporting fiscal first-quarter results that topped Wall Street’s forecasts. The company’s brands include Hydro Flask, Oxo, Vicks and Revlon.

SLICK RESULTS: Shares in WD-40 climbed 8.9% after the seller of lubricants delivered fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue that exceeded analysts’ expectations.

NOT A GOOD LOOK: Levi Strauss slumped 12% after the jeans maker’s latest quarterly report card showed its profit margins fell due to higher costs.


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US adds solid 224,000 jobs; Fed rate cut may be less certain


U.S. employers sharply stepped up their hiring in June, adding a robust 224,000 jobs, an indication of the economy’s durability after more than a decade of expansion.

The strength of the jobs report the government issued Friday could complicate a decision for the Federal Reserve late this month on whether to cut interest rates to help support the economy. Most investors have anticipated a rate cut in July and perhaps one or two additional Fed cuts later in the year. That scenario may be less likely now.

Stocks sold off early Friday before paring their losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about 20 points in late-afternoon trading. But the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed to 2.05% from just under 2% before the jobs report, reflecting a view that the Fed might engage in fewer rate hikes.

June’s solid job growth followed a tepid gain of 72,000 jobs in May, a result that had fueled concerns about the economy’s health. But with June’s pace of hiring, employers have now added, on average, a solid 171,000 jobs for the past three months. Last month’s burst of hiring suggests that many employers have shrugged off concerns about weaker growth, President Donald Trump’s trade wars and the waning benefits from U.S. tax cuts.

“Although there are drags on the economy in 2019, the expansion should continue through this year,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services. “The doom and gloom was overblown.”

The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% in June from 3.6% for the previous two months, reflecting an influx of people seeking jobs who were initially counted as unemployed. Average hourly wages rose 3.1% from a year ago.

Trump responded to Friday’s jobs report by tweeting, “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” But the strong hiring gains have lessened the case, at least for now, for the Fed to slash rates as Trump has repeatedly and aggressively pressed the central bank to do.

“If we had a Fed that would lower interest rates, we’d be like a rocket ship,” the president asserted to reporters in an appearance Friday. “But we’re paying a lot of interest, and it’s unnecessary. But we don’t have a Fed that knows what they’re doing.”

Last year, Fed officials raised rates four times, in part to stave off the risk of high inflation and in part to try to ensure that they would have room to cut rates if the economy stumbled.

On Friday, the Fed reiterated that it would act as necessary sustain the economic expansion, while noting that most Fed officials have lowered their expectations for the course of rates. The Fed’s statement came in its semiannual report on monetary policy.

In Friday’s jobs report for June, the hiring gains were broad. Construction companies added 21,000 workers after having increased their payrolls by only 5,000 in May. Manufacturers hired 17,000, up from just 3,000 in May. Health care and social assistance added 50,500 jobs. Hiring by transportation and warehousing companies increased 23,900.

The government sector was a major source of hiring, adding 33,000 jobs in June. Nearly all those gains were at the local level.

For Todd Leff, CEO of Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, the resilience of the U.S. job market has provided both an opportunity and a challenge. With more Americans earning steady paychecks, demand for massages and facials has increased, and the company plans to add 60 locations this year and roughly 1,800 jobs. But the low unemployment rate has also made it hard to find and retain workers.

“We could hire 1,000 more employees today — if they were available,” said Leff, whose company has about 430 locations and is based in Trevose, Pennsylvania.

Investors have been turning their attention to the Fed, which has expressed concern about threats to the economy, especially the uncertainties from Trump’s trade wars, and about inflation remaining persistently below its 2% target level. A Fed rate cut, whenever it happens, would be its first in more than a decade.

Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist for the consultancy MFR, said the likelihood of a Fed rate cut late this month is now slightly lower, though he still estimates that the federal funds rate — what banks charge each other — will be sharply lower by the end of next year.

Ryan Wang, U.S. economist at HSBC Bank, suggested that the solid jobs report might create a communications challenge for Fed Chairman Jerome Powell when he testifies Wednesday and Thursday to congressional committees.

The financial markets still foresee a rate cut of 25 points this month, Wang said, adding, “It will be important to see if Chair Powell lays out on a strong case for near-term monetary easing in his testimony next week.”

The sluggish pace of hiring in May had signaled that employers might have grown more cautious because of global economic weakness and, perhaps, some difficulty in finding enough qualified workers at the wages that companies are willing to pay.

The pace of the overall economy is widely thought to be slowing from annual growth that neared a healthy 3% last year. Consumer spending has solidified. Home sales are rebounding. But America’s manufacturing sector is weakening along with construction spending. Growth in the services sector, which includes such varied industries as restaurants, finance and recreation, slowed in June.

Overall, though, employers have been adding jobs faster than new workers are flowing into the economy. That suggests that the unemployment rate will remain near its five-decade low and that the economy will keep growing, even if only modestly.


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US hiring slows amid trade rifts and weaker global economy


U.S. hiring stumbled in May as employers added just 75,000 jobs, a sign that businesses have become more cautious in the face of weaker global growth, widening trade conflicts and perhaps some difficulty finding enough workers.

Last month’s modest job gain followed a much healthier increase of 224,000 in April. The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate remained at a nearly 50-year low of 3.6%.

The tepid job growth, along with rising pressures on the economy, makes it more likely that the Federal Reserve will cut rates in the coming months. Bond yields fell after the jobs data was released, signaling expectations for lower Fed rates. Stock investors, too, signaled their approval, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up nearly 300 points in late-day trading.

On Friday, the government also revised down the economy’s hiring gains for March and April by a combined 75,000. In the first five months of the year, job growth has averaged 164,000 a month, a solid pace that is enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. Still, it’s below last year’s pace of 225,000.

Last month, President Donald Trump announced an increase in tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. And last week, he threatened to impose 5% tariffs on all Mexican imports to the United States beginning Monday. Those taxes would rise each month until they reach 25% in October unless the Mexican government cuts off a flow of Central American migrants entering the United States from through Mexico.

The economy is showing signs of sluggishness just as the expansion has reached its 10th anniversary. Next month, it will become the longest period of uninterrupted growth on records dating to 1854. Yet consumers have turned cautious about spending, and companies are scaling back their investment in high-cost machinery and equipment.

Economists cautioned that May’s job figures cover just one month and that broader trends indicate that hiring remains steady. They also noted, though, that May’s weaker hiring data preceded Trump’s threat last week to impose 5% tariffs on Mexico. So the full impact of the trade fights will likely show up in coming months.

“This looks like an economy that is slowing down, which does not mean that we’re necessarily entering a recession,” said Martha Gimbel, director of economic research at the job listings site Indeed. “Coming in the context of tariffs and other economic headwinds makes this number more worrisome.”

The economy expanded at a healthy 3.1% annual rate in the January-March quarter. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta estimates that annual growth will slump to 1.5% in the April-June quarter.

The deceleration in hiring could mean that some employers are just having trouble finding the workers they need, given that the pool of unemployed is comparatively small. Yet wages should be rising faster than they are as employers compete for workers.

Average hourly pay rose just 3.1% in May from a year earlier, down slightly from last month’s year-over-year gain of 3.2%. That was the smallest such annual increase since September. Smaller raises, combined with slower hiring, could diminish consumers’ willingness to spend in the coming months.

Hiring was weak across a broad range of industries in May. Manufacturers added only 3,000 jobs, a fourth straight month of anemic gains. Construction companies hired just 4,000, financial services only 2,000.

Employers in several industries cut payrolls. Retailers shed workers for a fifth straight month as stores struggle with online competition. A category that includes telecom, publishing, and media shed 5,000 jobs. Federal, state and local governments cut a combined 15,000.

Software and technology firms remain a bright spot. Paul McDonald, a senior executive at the staffing firm Robert Half International, said that mobile app developers, data analysts, coders, and senior financial analysts are still typically receiving multiple offers and strong pay gains.

“It’s still a job seeker’s market,” he said.

Keeper Security, a cyber-security firm, said last month that it would expand its Chicago headquarters and add 130 jobs over the next six months to its roughly 160 current staff.

CEO Darren Guccione said his company hasn’t had much trouble finding candidates to fill its programming, sales and marketing jobs. The company hires software developers in its Sacramento office, and is able to attract employees who are tired of the high cost of living in San Francisco.

“We’re seeing great pools of candidates,” he said.

Trade conflicts have had no impact on the company, Guccione added.

The tariffs have affected manufacturing and retail firms more than they have software companies and have become a growing threat to the economy.

The higher costs from the import taxes — and the potential for more — are causing some companies to scale back plans for spending, investment and expansion. A strong dollar, which makes U.S. goods costlier overseas, has also slowed the production and export of manufactured goods. Factory output fell 0.5% in April, according to a Fed report.

Automakers are cutting jobs and production as U.S. sales have declined. Analysts expect auto sales to fall below 17 million this year after four years above that level.


Follow Chris Rugaber on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ChrisRugaber


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Job gain points to a US economy slowing but hardly stalling


A month ago, many economists fretted that the 10-year U.S. expansion looked wobbly. But after the government reported Friday that hiring rebounded in March, the economy suddenly looks sturdy again.

Growth has weakened since last year to something closer to the modest pace that has prevailed for most of the nearly decade-long expansion. The jolt from the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts and greater government spending last year has faded. And the global economy has swiveled from a driver of the U.S. economy to a headwind.

Yet last month’s solid job gain of 196,000 may also help undercut any lingering fears that a recession might arrive over the next year or so. The economy’s slow but steady pace of growth is likely to keep inflation low and perhaps sustain the expansion, which is set to become the longest on record in July.

By historical measures, the expansion has fallen short of the sometimes-explosive growth that businesses and workers enjoyed in the past but that often led to financial bubbles or economic excesses — and eventually a recession.

“Lackluster means that you’re not overheating,” Josh Wright, chief economist at recruiting software maker iCIMS, said of the current expansion. “It’s more stable, and we’ll have fewer imbalances. It looks like we’ll be able to prolong this recovery even further.”

In its monthly jobs report Friday, the government also said the unemployment rate remained near a five-decade low of 3.8% in March.

So far this year, job growth has averaged a decent 180,000 a month. That is down, though, from last year’s 223,000 monthly average. And it marks the lowest three-month average gain since November 2017, before the tax cuts took effect.

Wage growth also slipped a bit in March, with average hourly pay increasing 3.2% from a year earlier. That is down from February’s year-over-year gain of 3.4%, the best in a decade.

“Today’s data paint a picture of resilient U.S. demand that has stepped down to a more moderate pace of growth following last year’s robust gains,” said Jonathan Millar, senior economist at Barclays.

Investors took Friday’s jobs data in stride. The stock market was up slightly in afternoon trading, extending a rally that has lifted the financial markets this year.

Given that that hiring and wage growth aren’t growing so fast as to threaten high inflation, the Federal Reserve is likely to stay on the sidelines indefinitely, forgoing interest rate hikes, economists said.

As recently as December, Fed officials had forecast that they would raise rates twice this year. But in March, after financial markets turned volatile, inflation showed signs of slipping, and concerns grew about the global economy, the Fed said it would likely keep rates unchanged in 2019.

Yet the jobs data also provides little reason for the Fed to cut rates, analysts said, despite President Donald Trump’s repeated calls for the Fed to do just that. On Friday, Trump went further, urging the Fed to renew the bond-buying program it had used to lower longer-term borrowing rates earlier this decade after the Great Recession. The program was known as “quantitative easing.”

“Our country’s doing unbelievably well economically,” Trump said. But Fed policymakers “really slowed us down,” and if they dropped rates and resumed buying bonds, “you would see a rocket ship.”

Quantitative easing was an emergency tool that the Fed, under Chairman Ben Bernanke, used to buy trillions in government bonds and other securities. The third and last round was launched in 2012 when the unemployment rate was still 8%.

The Fed’s policies probably contributed to another shortcoming of the current expansion: It has benefited wealthier Americans more than others. That’s because the Fed’s QE program, by holding down rates on Treasury securities, led many investors to put more money into stocks, raising their values.

The stock market has tripled since bottoming a decade ago, benefiting the richest one-tenth of Americans, who own about 80% of the value of U.S. shares. Home equity, a much more vital source of wealth for the middle-class, has recovered much less.

And many households remain gripped by financial insecurity despite the steady pace of hiring. Forty percent of workers earn less than $16 an hour, according to government data analyzed by the Economic Policy institute. In March, hiring did pick up in higher-paying sectors, such as professional and business services, which added 37,000 jobs in engineering, IT services, accounting and other fields.

Manufacturers did not fare as well, cutting 6,000 jobs, the sector’s first decline in a year and a half, mostly because of layoffs by General Motors. Construction firms added 16,000 jobs.

One factor that may weigh on hiring in the coming months is a dwindling supply of workers in the healthiest job markets. Charles Dunlap, who owns an accounting firm in Houston with a partner, has found it much harder to find a new bookkeeper than he did the last time he filled the position, in late 2016.

Back then, advertising mostly by word of mouth turned up unsolicited requests for interviews and candidates with advanced degrees. Now, Dunlap has interviewed only three potential hires this year, despite raising the job’s starting pay about $2 an hour to roughly $15.

“That’s the big challenge these days, just finding staff,” Dunlap said.

Like hiring, growth is also expected to decelerate this year, to about a 2.25% pace, down from 2.9% in 2018, the fastest expansion in three years. In the much more rapid expansion in the 1990s, growth topped 4% for four years.

Consumers have helped drag down growth, with retail sales falling in February and a broader measure of consumer spending slipped in January. Businesses have also reined in their spending on industrial machinery and other equipment and on factories and other buildings.

And in Europe and Asia, weaker economies have reduced demand for U.S. exports. Europe is on the brink of recession, with its factories shrinking in March at the fastest pace in six years, according to a private survey.

Still, most analysts expect the U.S. economy to survive weakness overseas.

“The U.S. is much more isolated from those factors than other countries,” Millar said. “We have a relatively closed economy.”

Corporate profits also appear to be rebounding after stalling out in the first three months of this year.

Analysts expect S&P 500 companies to report a drop of nearly 4 percent in their first-quarter earnings per share from a year earlier, according to FactSet. It would be the first decline in nearly three years.

But Steve Chiavarone, an equity strategist at Federated Investors, pointed to encouraging reports recently on China’s economy and U.S. manufacturing, along with central banks around the world easing up on interest rates.

“Over the last few days, you’ve seen 2019 and 2020 earnings estimates rise for the first time since September,” Chiavarone said.


AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed to this report from New York.


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