President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China is starting to hurt the nation’s job market, another sign that ongoing tensions over commerce may take a harsh toll on US economic health.
The Washington Post reported there’s increased anxiety among business owners and corporate leaders over a trade war that has no end in sight — and there’s early signs they’re backing off hiring more workers.
One executive said he took down several job listings this summer after Trump announced he would impose tariffs on all remaining US imports from China on September 1.
“It’s the most frustrating time I’ve ever had running a business, and I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” Win Cramer, chief executive of JLab Audio, told the Post.
Business investment declined in the second quarter of the year. And some corporate leaders cited Trump’s tariffs and his volatile economic approach creating a current of uncertainty and forcing them to rethink their spending.
Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University, told the Post it’s a cautious time for businesses and they’re being “careful about spending and hiring.”
Labor Department data shows 7.3 million job openings in June, a dip from a peak of 7.6 million openings in November 2018. Cutting back on hiring suggests there is widespread concern about continued economic growth among businesses.
The Trump administration announced on Tuesday it would delay a part of the planned tariffs on cell phones, laptops, and toys among other items until Dec. 15. The move spares consumers during the busy holiday season as the cost of those goods would likely rise with the additional tariffs.
There are other signs that the trade war is not achieving the results Trump has long sought. The New York Times reported that Trump’s trade fights appears to be undercutting his own efforts to bring back jobs to the US.