Business hiring falls to 7-year low in US: survey

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A survey of U.S. companies by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) found hiring has fallen sharply in recent months, according to an NABE summary of the survey.

The survey found only 20 percent of economists surveyed by the NABE said their firms have made additional hires in the last three months, compared to one in three in July.

{mosads}“The U.S. economy appears to be slowing, and respondents expect still slower growth over the next 12 months,” said Constance Hunter, NABE president and chief economist at the accounting firm KPMG. 

Business economists predict slower growth ahead in 2020, partly due to the ongoing trade war with China cutting into sales for many companies due to increased prices. Thirty-five percent of respondents said tariffs on aluminum, steel and most Chinese goods have hurt their companies compared to 7 percent who said they have had a positive influence.

Amid concerns about growth, businesses are also less likely to offer pay raises despite the strong employment numbers.

One in three economists told the NABE their companies increased pay over the last three months, compared to a majority who said the same a year ago.

The survey also found slower growth in sales, with only 39 percent of economists reporting higher sales in the past three months compared to 61 percent a year ago, and only 38 percent expecting sales to increase in the three months ahead, compared to 61 percent a year ago.

Two out of three economists predicted economic growth of 1.1 percent to 2 percent from the third quarter of this year to the third quarter of next year, compared to nearly 75 percent who predicted growth as high as 3 percent between Q3 2018 and Q3 2019.

The survey interviewed 101 economists between Sept. 26 and Oct. 14.

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