Hicks Discusses Current Economic Picture

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The director of Ball State University's Center for Business and Economic Research says the latest national jobs figures show the United States economy has completed nine full years of expansion. Economist Michael Hicks says the labor force grew by more than 600,000 in June, which caused the unemployment rate to rise slightly to 4.0 percent.

Hicks says U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers indicate that 220,000 jobs were added last month and totals from the previous two months were also revised upward by 35,000 jobs. He characterized wage growth over the last year as "tepid."

Despite the second-longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history, Hicks says minutes released by the Federal Reserve illustrate a "cautionary tale" for where the economy could be headed. He says it reports a dip in industrial production in April and May and adds the agriculture and other commodities markets are showing negative effects of a potential trade war. July 6 is the official start of trade tariffs imposed on China through action by President Donald Trump and Hicks anticipates more economic effects will be felt by year's end as retaliatory measures are taken by foreign trade partners. Hicks concludes by saying "extending tariffs to more products will likely increase the risk of ending this expansion."

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