Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

5 important takeaways from the June jobs report

Economy adds 213K jobs in June unemployment ticks up to 4 percent Getty Images
Russell Knight | 08 July, 2018, 18:42

Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 195,000 jobs last month, adding to the 223,000 positions generated in May, according to a Reuters survey of economists.

The number of employed people in the workforce rose by 102,000, while the number of unemployed jumped by 499,000, suggesting more people entered the labour force and actively sought jobs. A separate measure, average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers, also increased 2.7 percent from a year earlier, unchanged from the prior month's gain.

The Fed raised its target range for the benchmark federal funds rate in June for the second time this year, and penciled in two more rate hikes in the second half of the year. The concern is that a tit-for-tat escalation of tariffs will be increasingly damaging for activity, hurting sentiment and leading to a slower pace of growth in capital expenditure and job creation.

"It's not your father's labor market anymore", said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. The retreat was because the continuation of strong employment prospects has caused a month-to-month uptick in the participation rate, to 62.9% from 62.7%.

The report showed that Canada's trade surplus with the US narrowed to $3.3 billion in May, from $3.7 billion April, as more imports headed north across the border and south-bound exports decreased.

The United States has increased jobs monthly for more than seven years, but some analysts suggest that the escalating trade disputes between the USA and its allies could threaten growth.

The lack of wage growth is disappointing, but still higher than the rate of inflation, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum.

"Retail" hiring, however, was down in the dumps, -22,000 jobs. Over the past three months, the economy has produced a robust average monthly job gain of 211,000. According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, average hourly earnings growth of more than 0.4% from last month and payrolls of less than 140,000 would "spook" investors. "Business' number one problem is finding qualified workers", says Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi.

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A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, rose to 7.8 percent last month from a 17-year low of 7.6 percent in May.

US economist at UniCredit Research in NY.

On Friday, the world witnessed the imposition of new tariffs by the USA and China on goods worth $34bn from each of the two countries.

The economy also faces a substantial threat from the trade tension with China and from other trade disputes with US allies, including Canada and Europe.

Economists have warned the tit-for-tat tariffs could disrupt the supply chain, undermine business investment and raise prices for consumers, and wipe out the stimulus from a $1.5 trillion tax cut package that came into effect in January.

Construction payrolls rose by 13,000 last month after rising by 29,000 jobs in May.

"Leisure and hospitality" also registered a nice gain in jobs in the latest month, +25,000, led by "food services and drinking places", +16,000.

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