Hicks: Jobs Report Unlikely to Ease Economic Jitters

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Mike Hicks is the director of the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research. Mike Hicks is the director of the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research.
MUNCIE -

A Ball State University economist says last week's jobs report will do little to remove the growing unease caused by "a very bad week of economic news." Mike Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State, says the report did have some bright spots, including growth in wages and factory jobs.

The U.S. added 155,000 jobs in November and the national unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7 percent. Hicks says last month's growth reflected continued slowing of employment growth over the past six months.

"Revisions from the past two months, reflecting additional data saw reductions of previous estimates, that brought the annual average monthly of growth to 170,000, a significant decline from 2017," said Hicks. "Labor force growth appears to be slowing, which is unexpected given the lengthy holiday hiring season."

However, factory jobs grew by 27,000 nationwide and wage growth over the year rose from 2.9 percent to 3.1 percent before adjusting for inflation. Hicks says last week's stock market declines were coupled with important financial market indicators of growing recession risk.

"This jobs report does not signal a business cycle, but is part of a trend of slower labor market growth over the past six months," said Hicks. "Employment is a lagging economic indicator, so (the) report is unlikely to boost confidence that the economy is poised for a continued lengthy expansion."

The stock market declines are continuing Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 160 points in the early afternoon. 

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