On Friday the Labor Department announced that the jobless rate dropped to 4.4 percent in April, the lowest rate in more than a decade. Employers added 211,000 workers throughout various industries, bringing the total of jobs added in Trumps first three months in office to 522,000. Both Democrats and Republicans expressed optimism about the increase in the labor markets straights, but disagreed on who deserved credit. Republicans argued that the increase in jobs is evidently from Trump taking office, whereas the Democrats argued it was due to the ongoing economic legacy left by President Obama.
Even though President Trump has yet to push through his main pro-growth agenda such as tax reform or large investment in infrastructure, some economist have given the president credit for making some impact. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget office, stated that Trump’s freezing of new regulations and elimination of others were having a measurable impact. Holtz argued that the persistent rollout of regulations by the Obama administration had added millions of dollars in costs for businesses each week.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta tweeted that the “steady and sustained increases in job creation equals new paychecks for American workers and income for American families.” Acosta added that the jobs report was “great news,” but also tweeted that “we still have challenges ahead as we continue to focus on job growth, bridging the skills gap & expanding opportunities for all Americans.”
The underemployment rate, which tracks people working part-time that want a full-time job, also dropped to its lowest point since 2007. For President Trump, the jobs report is the latest bit of good news, released just a day after the House approved his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The energy sector was the best performing, rising 1.6 percent. Major US stock indexes showed gains on Friday, with S&P 500 ending at a record high close. Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services, stated that “there has been and probably will continue to be a little bit of a fear that perhaps the economy isn’t accelerating like people thought it would or want it to… so any day where you get a little bit more confirmation that perhaps the economy is OK – and we got that today in the sense of an OK jobs report, oil is up, transport are doing better today – that probably is something that helped the broader market.”
Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump had promised to bring back jobs, specifically manufacturing, back to America. However, that task has proven to be difficult as there fewer blue collar jobs in America due to increased automation and outsourcing. That was evident in the jobs report released where it was shown that there were little gains last month in the number of manufacturing, construction, transportation, and warehousing sectors.
The increase in jobs largely came from the leisure and hospitality, healthcare, and the professional and business services sectors. Those four sectors combined for a total of 150,000 jobs in April. Some have expressed concern over whether or not the health care sector will continue to grow should the Senate vote to repeal Obamacare, leading to the enactment of Trump’s new health care bill.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi cautioned that there could be a negative effect on the economy should Obamacare be overturned. Pelosi stated that while “April’s jobs report shows the economy continues moving forward…neither the economy nor America’s families can afford the devastating health cost increases of Trumpcare.”
The Federal Reserve Board put a confident stamp on the economy this week and is expected to raise interest rates further this year.
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