U.S. job growth likely rebounded in June after it dropped below 100,000 in May, with wage gains expected to pick up, but that would probably not be enough to discourage the Federal Reserve from cutting interest rates this month amid growing evidence the economy is slowing.
The Fed last month signaled it could ease monetary policy as early as July, citing low inflation as well as growing risks to the economy from an escalation in trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The trade tension has undercut business confidence in the U.S., leading to a downturn in equipment spending and manufacturing.
“Given signs of slowing growth and little material progress on the trade war, a rebound in job growth would still leave the Fed on course to cut rates at the July meeting and we expect a 25 basis points cut,” said Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Non-farm payrolls probably increased by 160,000 jobs last month after rising by only 75,000 in May, according to a Reuters survey of economists. May marked the second time this year that job gains dropped below 100,000.
Reports on Wednesday showed private employers hired far fewer-than-expected workers last month and a measure of services industries employment declined.
Though the job growth picked up in June, it has slowed to an average of 164,000 per month this year from 223,000 in 2018.
While the U.S. economy is expanding, there are signs that momentum is slowing as the stimulus from last year’s massive tax cuts and more government spending fizzles.
Consumer spending is rising moderately, with confidence easing from its recent lofty levels. Manufacturing and the housing market are struggling and the trade deficit is widening again. Construction spending has weakened as the boost from increased investment in roads and highways by state and local governments fades.
Though wage growth is expected to have picked up in June, the trend has slowed from late last year when wages were rising at their fastest rate in a decade. Average hourly earnings are forecast increasing 0.3 percent after gaining 0.2 percent in May. That would lift the annual increase in wages to 3.2 percent from 3.1 percent in May, which was the slowest rise in eight months.
“Business investment has been weak in part due to increased uncertainty over the global environment and trade,” said Michelle Girard, U.S. chief economist at NatWest Markets in Stamford, Connecticut. “This wait-and-see attitude could lead to a slowdown in the pace of hiring in the months ahead as well.”
Hiring likely picked up in most sectors in June, though manufacturing payrolls were probably unchanged after rising by 3,000 in May. The sector is struggling with an inventory bulge, concentrated in the automotive industry, trade tensions, design troubles at planemaker Boeing and slowing global growth.