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Ball State economist: ‘Economy is clearly decelerating’

MUNCIE (Inside INdiana Business) — The latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows U.S. unemployment remains near a 50-year low of 3.7 percent, but job growth in August remained tepid.

The Bureau says 130,000 jobs were created in August. Ball State University economist Michael Hicks said he believes the economy is expanding but at a much slower pace.

“The economy is clearly decelerating,” Hicks said. “The 130,000 new jobs created in August were well below the average of the previous two quarters, even after revisions that cut a further 20,000 jobs from the June and July report.”

Hicks said a significant share of job growth involved temporary jobs for the 2020 Census.

“More worrisome is the large increase in the sector representing temporary jobs,” Hicks said. “More than 1 in 3 private sector jobs created last month were in managerial and professional services.”

Hicks said he believes employers may feel uneasy about the future of the domestic economy, resulting in a slowdown in permanent hires.

Hicks said the numbers are preliminary and should be viewed with caution. He says revisions to previous months’ reports have been revised heavily downward.