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US jobs creation cools in August as Trump turns up heat on Fed

US jobs creation cools in August as Trump turns up heat on Fed
Hiring was flat for US auto manufacturers and information services as well as leisure and hospitality.

Washington - Powell sticks to his guns, saying central bank will act as appropriate

By AFP, Reuters

Published: Fri 6 Sep 2019, 9:57 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Sep 2019, 9:43 PM

America's jobs engine downshifted in August as employers unexpectedly held back hiring across major industries, another sign that the world's largest economy could be weakening, government data showed on Friday.
As the numbers were released, President Donald Trump, whose record as a job creator could wane ahead of next year's elections, renewed his attacks on the US central bank, which he blames for failing to stimulate the economy fast enough.
Employers added 130,000 net new positions for the month, far lower than analyst forecasts, while the jobless rate held steady at 3.7 per cent for the third month in a row, and wages rose, according to Labor Department estimates.
Estimates for the May and June were also cut by a total of 20,000 positions, bringing the rolling, three-month average to 156,000 positions, well below the 241,000 seen in August last year. Amid weak investment by companies and mounting fears of a recession, employers also say they are struggling to find qualified workers to fill open positions. The soft jobs numbers should also add to pressure on the Fed to cut interest rates later this month, as economists widely expect it to do.
Late Thursday and early Friday, Trump took to Twitter for the latest of many attacks on the US central bank, which he said had raised interest rates too quickly last year. "They were WAY too early to raise, and Way too late to cut - and big dose quantitative tightening didn't exactly help either," said Trump, who has advance access to the jobs report.
"Where did I find this guy Jerome?" he said, referring to Fed chairman Jerome Powell, whom he appointed. "Oh well, you can't win them all!"
Workers, however, got a bump in pay, as hourly wages rose 11¢ on average, putting them up more than 3 per cent, year-on-year, for the 13th month in a row.
Powell, meanwhile, said the Fed will continue to act as appropriate. "Our obligation is to use our tools to support the economy, and that's what we'll continue to do," he said at the University of Zurich on Friday. The US and world economy are not likely to fall into recession, he said, but they do face risks and "crosswinds," including from trade uncertainty.

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