US weekly jobless claims totaled 204,000, vs 210,000 expected

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report, which was published on Wednesday, described the labor market as “tight throughout the country, with most districts reporting widespread shortages.”

Though there have been reports of some companies either planning job cuts or laying off workers because of trade tensions between the United States and its major trade partners, they have been partially offset by increased hiring in the steel industry.

Economists, however, warn of widespread job losses if the Trump administration presses ahead with tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports. President Donald Trump last week threatened duties on another $267 billion worth of Chinese goods on top of a $200 billion tariff list that is awaiting his decision.

Washington has already slapped duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, provoking retaliation from Beijing. The United States has also engaged in tit-for-tat tariffs with other trade partners, including the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 15,000 to 1.70 million for the week ended Sept. 1, the lowest level since December 1973. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims decreased 8,250 to 1.71 million, the lowest level since November 1973.

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