Last updateMon, 15 Oct 2018 3pm


“Trade War” with China Officially Begins

“U.S. tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods kicked in on Friday, escalating a war of words between the world's two largest economies into a full-blown trade conflict,” CNBC  reports.

“Washington's 25% duties went into effect at midnight EDT and affected products such as water boilers, X-ray machine components, airplane tires and various other industrial parts. China immediately implemented retaliatory tariffs on its $34 billion list of goods issued last month.”

U.S. Adds 213,000 Jobs in June

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 213,000 in June, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.0%, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. Job growth occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing and health care, while retail trade lost jobs.

Manufacturing added 36,000 jobs in June. Durable goods manufacturing accounted for nearly all of the increase. Over the past year, manufacturing has added 285,000 jobs.

Durable Goods Orders Decreased in May

New orders for manufactured goods in May, up three of the last four months, increased $1.8 billion or 0.4% to $498.2 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported this week.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in May, down two consecutive months, decreased $0.9 billion or 0.4% to $249.2 billion, up from the previously published 0.6% decrease. This followed a 1.0% April decrease. Transportation equipment, also down two consecutive months, drove the decrease, $0.9 billion or 1.1% to $86.1 billion. 

Mid-America Business Conditions Index Growth Slows

The June Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index, an economic indicator for the nine-state region stretching from Arkansas to North Dakota, fell to a healthy level continuing to point to strong growth for the next three to six months. The Business Conditions Index, which ranges between 0 and 100, declined to 61.8 from May’s 67.3. This is the 19th straight month the index has remained above growth neutral 50.0.

Tariffs contributed to elevated inflationary pressures at the wholesale level. Those pressures point to at least one more Federal Reserve rate hike before the end of September. 

AGC: Lack of Trained Workers Threatens Employment Gains

Construction employment increased in 263 (73%) out of 358 metro areas between May 2017 and May 2018, declined in 47 (13%) and was unchanged in 48, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Association officials warned that the supply of qualified workers is dwindling and urged members of Congress to support proposed legislation to reform, and increase funding for, the federal career and technical education program.

“The growth of industry employment in so many locations is good news, but it also highlights the challenge contractors face in finding qualified workers,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “As more cities hit new highs in construction employment and new lows in unemployment, the risk is growing that some projects will be delayed for lack of workers.” 

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