Economy Trade

Net Job Growth Flatlined in May

Written by SK Ashby

An independent measure of private sector job growth released earlier this week showed that the economy added just 36,000 jobs during the month of May, a 9-year low, but an official report from the Commerce Department is not much better and, in context, may even be worse.

Including all sources of hiring including the government, the economy added just 75,000 jobs in May according to the Commerce Department.

That means the economy added almost 100,000 fewer jobs than estimated by economists, but it's the revisions from previous months that make this report look especially bleak.

In addition to the weak total for May, the previous two months' reports saw substantial downward revisions. March's count fell from 189,000 to 153,000 and the April total was taken down to 224,000 from 263,000, for a total reduction of 75,000 jobs. [...]

Wages gains also slowed a bit. Average hourly earnings year over year were up 3.1%, one-tenth of a point lower than expectations. The average work week held steady at 34.4 hours.

With the economy adding just 75,000 jobs in May, and with reports for March and April being revised downward by 75,000, that means there was effectively no net job growth in the last month.

That's bad. And it's possible the numbers for May could also be revised downward (or upward) when the report for June is released early next month.

I don't think it's disputable that Trump's trade war and, more specifically, his decision to increase tariffs on Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent are being seen in these reports. Imposing tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods later this month could unleash pandemonium.