May 26, 2019

Employers’ Hiring Push Brings Workers Off the Bench

Employers’ Hiring Push Brings Workers Off the Bench

“You just cannot be in this game without being competitive,” Ms. Burke said of salaries.

The Labor Department’s report provides only a temporary and incomplete snapshot of the economy. Updates to the April and May reports registered an additional 37,000 jobs. June’s estimates will be revised twice. For the moment, though, it showed the manufacturing sector continued its hiring surge, with 36,000 jobs added. Business and professional services as well as health care also had strong showings, while the retail sector slumped, losing 22,000 jobs and erasing nearly all the gains made in May. More job losses, from the demise of Toys “R” Us, could show up in July.

The unemployment rate for blacks also worsened in June from the previous month, rising to 6.5 percent, while the rate among Hispanics improved, falling to 4.6 percent. (Among whites, the jobless rate is 3.5 percent.)

Fears of a trade war are keeping employers on edge. Recent surveys of business owners have reflected dismay with the uncertainty generated by tariffs, whether already imposed or threatened.

As the newly released minutes from the Fed’s meeting last month noted, intensifying anxiety about trade policy could “eventually could have negative effects on business sentiment and investment spending.”

The United States Chamber of Commerce also stepped up its warnings that escalating tariffs could result in “lost sales and ultimately lost jobs here at home,” publishing a state-by-state breakdown of exports and jobs at risk.

Last week, General Motors said that tariffs could lead to “less investment, fewer jobs and lower wages.” The motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson, based in Wisconsin, announced it would shift some production overseas to sidestep retaliatory tariffs imposed by European countries.

Heightening trade tensions are not the only risks over the longer term.

As Oxford Economics, an economic research firm, noted in its newsletter, “While it may feel like a party in the U.S.A., several risks are building,” including growing consumer debt.

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