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CNN Today

Economists Project 'Soft Landing' as Job Growth Slows

Aired August 4, 2000 - 1:04 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Interests rates may remain unchanged for awhile. Economists think the latest unemployment figures will keep the Federal Reserve from raising the rate any time soon.

Kelli Arena has our report from CNNfn.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Catchphrase of the day: soft landing. Based on today's unemployment report, many economists are now saying that growth has slowed down enough to ensure a slow but steady economic path ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The key message from this employment report is that job growth is indeed slowing. It's very difficult with a monthly jobs numbers to discern a trend because the numbers are so volatile. But what we have now is four months of clearly slower numbers in jobs, in job growth.

ARENA: Payrolls actually decreased last month, but the decline was due to census workers leaving their jobs. Ex-census job growth totalled 182,000, with the private sector adding just 138,000 of those.

Now, just as important are the wage numbers. Worker made on average 6 cents an hour more than the month before. While that was a bit higher than expected, for the year, wages have risen by 3.7 percent, and that is well within the Federal Reserve's inflation tolerance level.

ANTHONY CHAN, BANC ONE INVESTMENT ADVISORS: We seem to be surviving more and certainly learning to live with a tight labor market without necessarily seeing higher prices, which is very encouraging for investors, and even more encouraging for policy makers.

ARENA: Looking at some individual sectors, manufacturing added 46,000 jobs in July after showing little growth over the first half of this year. Construction employment edged up slightly, and retail added nearly 50,000 jobs. The financial sector added jobs for the first time since February.

(on camera): With this unemployment report and most earnings reports out of the way, investors attention is now focused on the next two economic statistics: the Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index, both due out before the Federal Reserve meets again on August 22.

Kelli Arena, CNN Financial News, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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