The United States and China have slapped retaliatory tariffs on a combined $100 billion of products since early July. US companies across a range of industries have expressed alarm about those import taxes and about counter-tariffs that other nations have imposed on USA exports. The White House has also threatened to hit China with higher taxes on $200 billion more of Chinese goods. Businesses are increasingly reluctant to even lay off workers, in part because it would be difficult to replace them at a time when qualified job applicants have become harder to find. Measures of new orders and production surged, and factories added jobs at a faster pace than in July.
"This should prove transitory as autos manufacturing payrolls tend to be noisy over the summer months as companies shut down production to retool for the next year's models, making seasonal adjustment factors less precise", said Joseph Song, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in NY.
Job gains in August were nearly across all sectors, though manufacturing payrolls fell by 3,000.
But retail payrolls fell 5,900 last month and government shed 3,000.
Employment growth was revised down by a total of 50,000 over June and July, making the last three months look more like a slowdown as trade tensions loomed.
US businesses added 204,000 jobs while federal, state and local governments lost 3,000.
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