Job Market Appearance Could Be Deceiving

( – The US labor market’s growth is contributing to the longest economic expansion in history. However, some industries are struggling despite strong job growth elsewhere.

By the end of 2019, unemployment was hovering at a 50-year-low and healthcare and education sectors were growing. The same couldn’t be said for transportation and retail. Manufacturing, logging, and mining also took major hits, losing about 21,000 jobs. Construction gained 20,000 jobs, but it didn’t offset the losses in other industries.

Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, was surprised by the job losses in the manufacturing industry. “It’s definitely worrisome, and definitely worth watching,” he said.

The transportation industry lost about 10,000 jobs, but some experts are blaming that on the manufacturing industry’s poor performance. The chief economist for Euler Hermes North America, Dan North, said he expects to see a downturn in the labor market in 2020. He also explained manufacturing is in contraction globally from trade uncertainty.

Retail is also facing an uncertain future. Economists aren’t sure what’s going to happen with that sector, but they are keeping an eye on it.

The job market seems to be shuddering a bit, but overall the economy is strong. Whether the shuddering becomes more serious depends on President Trump’s trade bills. He signed both the Phase I deal with China and the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) this month. For now, it’s a waiting game to see how everything plays out.

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