MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, August 6th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.
Well, the jobs numbers weren’t quite as expected for July. American employers added 157,000 new jobs and the official unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent. That’s near a five-decade low point, and it remains at the point economists call “full employment.” Even though labor economists expected more July jobs and didn’t get them, here’s what they did get: 59,000 additional jobs in May and June that the government didn’t know about. So that’s an average of 224,000 jobs added in the second-quarter months of May, June, and July.
If there’s bad news in this jobs report, it’s this:
Average hourly pay gains remained modest in July, just 2.7 percent from the same time last year. Historically when unemployment has fallen below 4 percent, wages have increased a good bit faster than that.
REICHARD: We’ve reported this before and it’s still a nagging issue: the trade war. The Commerce Department reported on Friday that the so-called trade deficit grew in June. The trade deficit is the gap between the imported goods American consumers purchase and the American-made goods sold abroad. It’s a measure of the difference between exports and imports, country by country, and in June it went up 7 percent. So the trade deficit with China, Mexico, and Canada all increased for the first time in four months.
This is a number that’s important to President Trump, and it’s something he’s been committed to decreasing. And he does that by levying tariffs, which invite retaliatory tariffs, and that’s what a trade war is.
EICHER: The strong report on unemployment cheered trade-war-weary Wall Street. All the major indexes were up: The Standard & Poor’s 500 increased 8-tenths of a percent. The NASDAQ up a full percentage point. The Russell 2000 picked up 6-tenths of a percent. And the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 136 points on Friday to turn a losing week into a winner, so on the week, the Dow inched up 1-tenth of percent.
And that’s this week’s Monday Moneybeat.