MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. Today is Monday, April 9th. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s time now for the Monday Moneybeat.
Job growth slowed a bit last month. Turns out, businesses are having a difficult time filling open positions.
The Labor Department reported Friday just 103,000 jobs added in the month of March. That’s the fewest in six months.
FAUCHER: I don’t think this is anything to worry about.
Gus Faucher, Chief Economist, PNC Financial Services Group. He says, the labor market remains fundamentally healthy, and that’s good for workers.
FAUCHER: The number for March was definitely a little bit weaker that we were expecting, but there’s a lot of variation in the numbers from month to month. They’re up about 2.7 percent from one year earlier, and there are indications that as the job market gets tighter and as businesses compete for workers that they’re raising pay in response.
Average hourly pay rose 2.7 percent in March compared with a year earlier. That’s slightly better than last month, too. The unemployment rate remains at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.
The government’s jobs report also had good news about the long-term unemployed. The number of those out of a job for six months or longer has fallen sharply in the past two years, down to 1.3 million. That number peaked at 6.8 million not long after the Great Recession ended.
REICHARD: That report from the Federal Reserve.
The Fed meantime is signaling it’s planning to stay the course on gradual increases in the key interest rate unless events change. Fed chairman Jerome Powell gave his first public speech as head of the central bank on Friday. Powell painted a mostly sunny view of the U.S. economy.
POWELL: Our patient approach has paid dividends and contributed to the strong economy we have today. Over the next few years, we will continue to aim for 2 percent inflation and for a sustained economic expansion with a strong labor market.
Powell spoke at the Chicago Economic Club. He added it was too early to gauge the impact of a possible trade war between the United States and China.
EICHER: Speaking of that, Wall Street issued its own gauge of trade-war impact.
On Friday, the market plunged: A 572-point, one-day drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Nasdaq fell 161 points. The Standard and Poor’s 500 off 58 points. That turned what had been a winning week on Wall Street into a loser.
Investors worry that dueling tariffs between the United States and China will touch off a trade war that derails the global economy. The White House signaled it’s considering tariffs on an additional $100 billion in goods imported from China.
For its part, Beijing pledged — its words — a “counterattack with great strength” if Trump follows through.
White House officials tried to tamp down economic fears.
KUDLOW: At the end of the rainbow is a little pot of gold, and if you open that pot up, it says ‘growth,’ ‘investment,’ ‘jobs and wages.’ … Our economy’s in fine shape.
National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow, speaking to reporters on Friday. Kudlow cautions, all the trade-war talk is just that: talk.
KUDLOW: Both countries have just proposed tariffs. There’s been nothing enacted. And I think that’s an important point.
Tim Anderson, managing director, TJM Investments, says there’s an old adage about the stock market that explains the swoon.
ANDERSON: The market of course loves good news, it can deal with bad news, but it really hates uncertainty.
EICHER: And that’s this week’s Monday Moneybeat.
(AP Photo/Richard Drew) The facade of the New York Stock Exchange is shown in this photo, Thursday, April 5, 2018.