In the latest employment report, the unemployment rate rose for the first time since August of 2017. Total unemployment saw an increase of 0.2% to 4.0%. A contributing factor to a rising unemployment is the large increase in those who were not looking for work in recent months, but now are (the labor participation rate).
Asian and African American unemployment rates saw the largest rise, with 1.1% and 0.6%, respectively. The Hispanic or Latino unemployment rate saw a decrease by 0.3%, while the White unemployment rate remained unchanged. The average hourly earnings of private employees inched up by 5 cents.
Worries of trade wars with other nations does not seem to be effecting employers’ decision to hire more workers; total nonfarm employment increased by a better-than-expected 213,000 jobs, most notably in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.
Looking into the future, it is difficult to determine what employers will do now that tariffs are in place with China, and other countries. It is also difficult to determine how these tariffs will impact the U.S. economy. Analysts will want to continue to keep an eye on the potential negative impact on certain industries, such as automotive manufacturing.