Today’s Pickup: unease as trade war hangs over U.S. job market

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Good day,

President Trump’s global trade war is posing a growing risk to the kind of robust job gains that the U.S. probably enjoyed again in June, according to Bloomberg.

While analysts say June is too early to see significant fallout from trade tensions in the employment data, such forces are starting to emerge as a possible counter to the tax cuts buoying corporate investment and consumer spending—and boosting a labor market that’s shown little sign of slowing. Yet anecdotal worries are mounting. A U.S. factory survey on Monday showed executives “overwhelmingly concerned” about tariffs, and two regional Federal Reserve presidents warned last week that a trade war is increasingly weighing on businesses and adding risks to the outlook.

Those looking for early signs of a trade war are eyeing manufacturing, already buffeted by the tariffs currently in effect or about to be imposed. The median estimate of economists for a gain of 15,000 jobs in the sector last month, following 18,000 in May, would be the weakest showing since September, when hurricanes hampered production. Will markets read such cooling as an early sign of business uncertainty, or as a natural slowdown in a sector that saw jobs boom for eight months?

Did you know?

Indian consumers pay a lot of taxes on their fuel, with some cities in the country paying more than half the price of fuel as taxes. This artificial jacking up of prices has led to widespread dissent and remains to be a primary cause for the frequent truck strikes.


“All I can do is appeal to the patron saint of lost causes and keep pressing and pressing and sooner or later you have to succeed.”

—Senator John McCain on trying to annul the Jones Law

In other news:

Stock futures higher as oil prices rise

U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday, boosted by a jump in oil prices and early gains in big technology stocks. (Reuters)

Paris beckons as a fare war turns Europe into a bargain

Planes at Los Angeles International Airport. Part of the reason for cheap airfares is new, more fuel-efficient planes. (New York Times)

Trade fight threatens farm belt businesses

Many farmers, who depend on shipments for one-fifth of the goods they produce, say they are anxious. (WSJ)

JLL research highlights top ten U.S. markets to establish a warehousing presence

Recent research from commercial real estate firm JLL indicates some markets are better than others for shippers and 3PLs. (SupplyChain247)

Latest air freight data reveals growth in American markets – ‘but at a price’

WorldACD has published another set of data, asking whether the pessimism over the air cargo market, which has seen growth slow, is realistic. (The Loadstar)

Final Thoughts:

Tesla set the newly accomplished goal of making 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week by the end of the Q2 earlier this year. Originally, the company said it would ramp up Model 3 production to 5,000 sedans a week in 2017, and then on to 10,000 a week in 2018, according to an earlier FreightWaves report. When that goal was not met, the company moved its 5,000 per week target out to the end of the first quarter. The goal was pushed back again in light of battery production issues.

At the time, FreightWaves reported on the heavy dose of media and public scrutiny that followed Tesla’s failure to deliver, including experts urging investors to sell and a subsequent stock drop.

This weekend’s victory could sway some of the negative attention Tesla has received over the last several months, especially if the increased production rate proves sustainable.

“I wonder if we can push production values further,’ Musk said on Twitter after the news broke. “Should be possible.”

Hammer down everyone!

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.