US: Unemployment down, trade deficit up | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 02.06.2017
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Business

US: Unemployment down, trade deficit up

The jobless rate in the US has dropped to a 16-year low despite a slowdown in job creation. The government also reported a significant rise in the country's trade deficit, which the president had vowed to reduce.

The US unemployment rate decreased by a tenth of a point to 4.3 percent in May, the Labor Department announced Friday.

It said that the economy added 138,000 net new jobs for the month, well below analysts' expectations and marking a sharp slowdown.

The bigger picture is that the jobless rate has fallen by 0.5 percent since the start of the year, with many employers having difficulty finding qualified workers.

Layoffs were reported to be at a 40-year low in the US as companies feared they might not be able to replace workers they let go.

Pouring oil into the fire

Also on Friday, a report from the Commerce Department showed the US' trade deficit for April rose to the highest level since January, with the politically sensitive trade gap with China registering a sharp increase.

The figures showed the US trade gap in goods and services climbed by 5.2 percent to $47.6 billion (42.3 billion euros) in April month on month.

Exports dropped by 0.3 percent to $191 billion, pulled down by a decrease in vehicle shipments. Imports rose by 0.8 percent to $238.6 billion, with the deficit in goods with China soaring by 12.4 percent.

So far this year, the trade deficit has been up 13.4 percent from a year earlier. The Trump administration has vowed to reduce the deficit, blaming the gap on unfair practices by the country's largest trading partners.

hg/jd (Reuters, AFP)

 

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