Bloomberg – A weak economy will drive the economy to a slower pace this year, and jobs and economic growth are unclear, said Steve Schwartz, an economist at the National Association of Manufacturers.

    The latest jobs report, released Tuesday, shows a drop in full-time positions but a boost in part-time work.

    That suggests the economy will grow at a 2.3 percent rate in the fourth quarter of this year and a 3.7 percent rate this year.

    That will come despite a steep drop in gas prices that began in September.

    The U.S. has seen a surge in domestic drilling, with oil prices up more than 80 percent since the beginning of this month.

    On Tuesday, the average price for a gallon of gasoline rose 2.5 cents to $3.79. 

    Schwartz said there are likely to be more jobs in construction, manufacturing and other non-essential services this year as companies are able to get out of the way of demand and allow their workers to be at home with their families. 

    “If the economy slows or goes into a downturn, there’s going to be some kind of impact on employment,” he said. 

     The jobs report came a day after the Trump administration approved a $3 billion in incentives for companies to move production from oil and gas to natural gas, a move that will boost the U.A.E.’s economy, which shrank 0.9 percent in the first quarter of the year. 

    The White House says the incentives are designed to encourage companies to invest in cleaner energy.

    The unemployment rate for those 18 to 24 declined to 5.1 percent, the lowest level in more than a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The rate was the lowest in nearly two years.

    “The unemployment is really lower than it was a year ago, but it’s not as low as we would have liked it to be,” said Dan Schoenfeld, chief U.P. economist at BMO Capital Markets.

    “We see a bit of a softening of the labor market that has been in place since the first couple of weeks of September.” 

    The economy is expected to grow at about a 2 percent rate, well below the 3.8 percent rate predicted by economists.

    While the economy is forecast to grow faster than 3.6 percent this year for the first time since 2014, the outlook remains fragile. 

    Last month, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the second time in a year and expects to keep its benchmark rate unchanged this year until at least June 2019.

    The Fed’s policy-setting board said it would increase its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points from 1.5 percent to 2.25 percent.


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