A measure of hiring by US companies has fallen to a seven-year low and fewer employers are raising pay, a business survey has found. Just one-fifth of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics said their companies or industries have hired additional workers in the past three months. That is down from one-third in July. Job totals were unchanged at 69% of companies, up from 57% in July. A broad measure of job gains in the survey fell to its lowest level since October 2012. The hiring slowdown comes as more businesses are reporting slower growth of sales and profits. Business economists also expect the economy's growth to slow in the coming year, partly because tariffs have raised prices and cut into sales for many firms.
"The US economy appears to be slowing, and respondents expect still slower growth over the next 12 months," says Constance Hunter, NABE president and chief economist at the accounting firm KPMG. Perhaps because of concerns over a weakening economy, businesses are less likely to offer higher pay, even with unemployment at a 50-year low, the AP reports. Just one-third of economists said their firms had lifted pay in the past three months, down from more than half a year ago. Companies are also cutting back on their investments in machinery, computers, and other equipment. Some 35% of business economists said President Trump's tariffs on most imports from China have hurt their companies, while just 7% said they had a positive effect.
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