Posted: 9:11 am Friday, July 6th, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
Increased levels of jobs growth continued in the month of June, as the Labor Department reported on Friday that 213,000 jobs were created last month, as the nation’s unemployment rate ticked up to 4 percent, with signs that more people were getting back into the labor market to look for work.
“The unemployment rate increase was driven by more workers entering the labor market and looking for jobs, which pushed the participation rate up to 62.9 percent,” said Lending Tree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze.
Jobs figures were also revised upwards for April, moving from 159,000 to 175,000. The numbers for May also were moved up, from 223,000 to 244,000.
Compared to the first six months of 2017, job growth is averaging 31,000 more jobs per month, as the U.S. economy continues to tap out solid job creation numbers.
As for why the unemployment rate went up from 3.8 percent in May to 4 percent in June, much of that may be due to more people getting back into the job market, as the feds reported “the number of re-entrants to the labor force rose by 204,000” last month.
New figures showed the number of people working part-time jobs for economic reasons – in other words, they couldn’t find a full-time job – went down by 205,000 in June, the fourth straight monthly decline.
Those holding multiple jobs went up 177,000 in June, continuing to seesaw back and forth in the monthly jobs report.
Overall, the jobless rate is still very low for the last twenty years, as it has been hovering right around four percent since late 2017.
Another encouraging figure was the average time of unemployment went down again in June to 21.2 weeks, the lowest point since March of 2009, signaling more job opportunities, and a more health job market.
While the Labor Force Participation Rate did go up to 62.9 percent, that figure has been stuck in that general area for several years now – and has not really budged under President Trump, despite higher job growth numbers.
“The labor force participation rate edged up by 0.2 percentage point over the month to 62.9 percent but has shown no clear trend thus far this year,” the Labor Department reported, as the figure has been in a narrow range since late 2015.
The new jobs figures were released hours after the Trump Administration slapped new tariffs on $34 billion in imports from China, and the Chinese government immediately retaliated – President Trump has said such a move would mean more import duties being placed on Chinese products.
“There are no winners in a trade war,” said William Zarit, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. “Counter-productive import tariffs, such as these, hurt not only the economies of the US and China, but those of every country around the world.”
The new tariffs from China came a day after Mexico set out its own round of retaliatory tariffs, hitting back at the President’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, as Mexico mainly levied new import duties on U.S. agricultural products.
The Federal Reserve reported Thursday in its latest review of the U.S. business climate that “plans for capital spending had been scaled back or postponed as a result of uncertainty over trade policy,” directly citing the Trump Administration tariffs.
The Fed reported in its June minutes that business had “expressed concern about the possible adverse effects of tariffs and other proposed trade restrictions, both domestically and abroad, on future investment activity.”
Free trade groups say the President’s tariffs – and threats of a broader trade war – are endangering economic growth, not encouraging it.