A jump of 17,000 in U.S. factory jobs last month indicates manufacturers expect their businesses to keep growing despite the obstacles posed by a slowing global economy and President Trump’s trade battles.
The Washington Exmainer reported that new positions pushed average manufacturing employment gains to 8,000 a month for 2019, an upbeat signal for the U.S., though markedly slower than the 22,000-a-month average last year. Employers hired just 3,000 factory workers a month in April and May, the Labor Department reported Friday.
“We’ve seen a lot of weakness in that sector over the past few months,” Joseph Song, an economist with Bank of America, told the Washington Examiner. The latest numbers suggest that “all the tensions around trade and higher tariffs haven’t necessarily led to businesses completely pulling back.”
Trump’s trade policies, including tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports, steel, and aluminum, have weighed on businesses for the past year. The duties themselves, and the constant threat of more to come, have slowed investment in new factories since executives are unsure how their supply chains and profit margins will be affected.
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