• 2020 unchanged at 3.6%.
• Says risks to the downside based on Brexit and US-China talks.
• Says growth will stabilize in the first half of 2019, sees gradual recovery afterwards.
• Sees global trade volume up 3.4% vs 4.0% in Jan.
• Cuts Euro-zone growth to 1.3% from 1.6%.
• Cuts US to 2.3% from 2.5%.
• Raises 2020 US forecast to 1.9% from 1.8%.
• Raises 2019 China growth forecast to 6.3% from 6.2%.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job openings dropped to an 11-month low in February and hiring decreased, which could partially explain a sharp slowdown in job growth during that month.
Still, the labor market remains a pillar of support for the economy amid signs that activity was easing because of the fading boost from a $1.5 trillion tax cut package and the effects of interest rate increases over the last few years. The economy is also facing headwinds from slowing global growth and the United States’ trade war with China.
“The February job openings data reinforced that the labor market weakened in February but there isn’t any cause for concern,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Job openings, a measure of labor demand, tumbled by 538,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.1 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, report on Tuesday. The drop was the biggest since August 2015. The level was the lowest since March 2018.
Vacancies in the accommodation and food services industry fell by 103,000 jobs in February. There were 72,000 fewer job openings in the real estate and rental and leasing sector. Job openings in the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector dropped by 66,000.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by only 33,000 jobs in February, the fewest since September 2017. The near-stall in job gains was partially blamed on colder weather and also viewed as payback after robust increases in December and January.
Job growth picked up in March, with the economy creating 196,000 positions, the government reported last Friday.