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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 85)

Trump Plans More Tariffs for China. You’ll Feel This Round.

Westlake Legal Group 02DC-CHINATARIFFS-01-facebookJumbo Trump Plans More Tariffs for China. You’ll Feel This Round. United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Shoes and Boots Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates) Powell, Jerome H Office of the United States Trade Representative National Retail Federation Luxury Goods and Services Lighthizer, Robert E International Trade and World Market Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff)

President Trump announced another wave of China tariffs this week, essentially saying he would impose a tax on nearly all $540 billion in Chinese goods that come into the United States in a year. And this batch could really bite.

The administration carefully tailored previous rounds of tariffs to pinch businesses in ways that most Americans might not notice. But the 10 percent levy on $300 billion of imports that Mr. Trump announced on Thursday, which would take effect Sept. 1, is expected to hit consumers where it hurts. From Apple’s iPhones to school supplies, a broad swath of everyday products are about to get more expensive.

The latest move is likely to prompt companies to submit exclusion requests to be spared from the tariffs, cause the Federal Reserve to rethink its plans for interest rates and inspire fresh retaliation from China that could compound Americans’ economic pain.

Here’s what to expect.

Until Sept. 1, the focus will be on the Office of the United States Trade Representative for a final list of the Chinese products subject to the new tariffs. The items will come from a 76-page list published in the Federal Register in May after Mr. Trump said that he wanted to have more potential tariffs in his quiver if the trade dispute dragged on.

Not every item on the May list will necessarily face tariffs. The trade representative’s office held a week of hearings about the proposed duties and has received comments from businesses around the country hoping for exemptions.

If the tariffs do take effect on Sept. 1, companies will have an opportunity to apply for exemptions. In previous instances, those seeking waivers had to explain why the tariffs would cause them “severe economic harm,” whether the product at issue or a comparable one was unavailable outside China and whether the item was “strategically important” to China’s industrial policy.

Earlier rounds of tariffs mostly focused on industrial goods, but the 10 percent levy announced Thursday is directed squarely at consumer items like clothes, toys and footwear.

That is bad news for, among others, shoemakers and the stores that sell their products, said Matt Priest, the chief executive of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America. Less than 1 percent of shoes are made domestically, and China is the source of 70 percent of the goods imported into the United States.

“We’re very concerned this will be a long-term cost baked into what consumers will pay,” Mr. Priest said, adding that he was not expecting exclusions to be made for footwear.

“Nearly every type of shoe is made in China, so there will be impact across the board,” he said. The only exceptions are some high-end leather shoes that are made in Europe.

With some consumer products, the supply comes almost entirely from China, said David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation. He cited umbrellas, electric blankets and toys.

“Trump is feeling very muscular right now,” Mr. French said. “But the next round of tariffs will hit the president’s base particularly hard. The people who voted for him in 2016 felt economically vulnerable. The tariffs will cause job losses and higher prices for everybody but especially his base.”

The most prominent American company bracing for the tariffs is Apple, which typically unveils new products every September.

In a letter in June, Apple urged Robert E. Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s top trade adviser, not to proceed with any new tariffs. The company warned that such tariffs would hamper its global competitiveness and reduce its contribution to the United States economy. Apple also said that new tariffs would tilt the playing field in favor of its global rivals.

Thus far, Mr. Trump has shown little sympathy for Apple. Last month, after the company filed 15 tariff-exclusion requests, he said that they would be denied and that the company should make its products in the United States.

Should the new tariffs take effect on Sept. 1, they will hit Apple’s phones, watches, MacBooks, iMacs, iPads, AppleTV, keyboards and batteries. The company’s shares fell more than 2 percent on Thursday after Mr. Trump said the new tariffs were coming, and the stock price was still down in afternoon trading on Friday.

Throughout the trade conflict, Beijing has demonstrated a willingness to respond to the Trump administration’s tariffs as proportionately as possible.

On Friday, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said that “adding tariffs is definitely not the correct way to resolve economic and trade frictions.” American officials were waiting to see how China planned to retaliate.

The trade imbalance between the two countries leaves China with limited options for imposing additional tariffs on imports from the United States. Beijing could introduce different kinds of barriers, including surprise inspections, license rejections for American companies or a broadening of China’s “unreliable entities” list.

Analysts have also suggested that China could consider curbing exports of so-called rare-earth minerals to the United States, reinstate a tariff on American cars or continue to shun soybeans from American farmers.

Throughout the yearlong dispute, China and the United States have continued to talk through their disagreements. China’s next move may be to give the silent treatment a try.

The Fed was already laser-focused on the trade war before Mr. Trump’s latest tariff announcement. Officials lowered interest rates this week for the first time in more than a decade, partly because of the uncertainty stoked by the tariffs and the risk that they pose to the economic outlook.

Fed officials do not believe that the tariffs already in place have by themselves hurt growth significantly. But policymakers worry that the extended fight is causing businesses to hold back on investment, which could ultimately hurt the broader economy.

Mr. Trump’s choice to escalate the fight with China puts Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, and his colleagues in a difficult position. Their job is to keep the economy operating at an even keel. But by lowering rates, which can help keep growth steady and buttress the stock market, the Fed may inadvertently give Mr. Trump the cover he needs to pursue his trade spats.

Mr. Powell has often said that the Fed would keep its focus on its two statutory responsibilities: sustaining maximum employment and stable inflation.

On the latter point, tariffs offer the Fed a surprise silver lining. They could drive inflation higher if companies raise prices on imported goods. The central bank has tried to coax prices up to, or even slightly above, its 2 percent inflation target — a goal it has undershot for years. Officials might seize on an opportunity to prove that they are ready to accept hotter price gains.

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Job Growth Slows in July but Remains Solid

In a week when President Trump suddenly cranked up trade tensions with China and the central bank moved to counter economic uncertainties, the American labor market offered a comforting steadiness.

Employers added 164,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department reported Friday, continuing a record hiring streak and keeping a tight lid on the unemployment rate.

Payroll gains have clearly slowed since last year, when steep tax cuts and government spending revved up the economy. But more than 10 years into an economic expansion, a little cooling is expected.

“Job gains were fairly broad-based across different sectors,” said Gregory Daco, chief economist of Oxford Economics USA. “This was a good jobs report over all.”

The monthly report reinforced the Federal Reserve’s stance that the economy’s underpinnings remain strong, even though it is unlikely to temper the push from some investors and Mr. Trump for the central bank to further reduce interest rates. On Wednesday, the Fed dropped its target rate for the first time in a decade.

Anxiety about the economy stems less from the country’s job-creation abilities than from concerns about a global slowdown, trade tensions, muted inflation and the risk of tightening financial conditions.

Mr. Trump ratcheted up those concerns on Thursday by announcing he intends to impose a 10 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing has promised to retaliate.

“Trump is trying to kill two birds with one stone: getting China to accept any type of trade deal and pushing the Fed to cut rates,” Mr. Daco said. “It’s like shooting yourself in the foot just to get another dose of morphine. It’s not a good approach.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158738964_d542ff19-a609-48c7-bafd-23c5dd06a245-articleLarge Job Growth Slows in July but Remains Solid Wages and Salaries United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Federal Reserve System

Martin Espinosa inspected a truck and refueled it at the Doral Ryder location in Miami.CreditMaria Alejandra Cardona for The New York Times

Tariffs and trade conflicts are likely responsible for the recent slowdown in manufacturing. But their impact has not yet trickled down to the rest of economy. The national unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, and confident consumers are still snapping open their wallets, and employers are searching for more workers.

“I’m never at full employment,” said Frank Lopez, executive vice president and chief human resources officer for Ryder System, which has 800 locations throughout North America.

Explosive growth over the past five years has increased his company’s appetite for skilled workers, particularly drivers and diesel mechanics. “I’m looking for 400 to 500 drivers at any given time,” he said.

To cope, the truck leasing, maintenance and logistics company has stepped up its efforts to develop its own talent pool, looking to recruit students right out of high school and service members finishing up military tours. It has established a partnership with Women in Trucking, a trade association, to attract more women to the industry.

“Someone can start out pumping fuel and washing trucks and become a trained mechanic,” Mr. Lopez said.

The tight job market is continuing to pull in workers from the sidelines. The labor force participation rate of African-American teenagers, for example, rose last month. Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, cited the improvement as evidence that the recovery is “finally getting into some parts of the economy that were left behind.”

She also noted a jump in the number of child and home health care workers, which can clear the way for more parents to go to work.

A broader measure of unemployment that includes part-timers who would prefer to work full time and those too discouraged to job hunt dropped to 7 percent in July, the lowest rate since 2000.

New entrants to the work force may have helped tamp down wage growth. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent in June and July, bringing the year-over-year increase to 3.2 percent.

Those at the lower end of the pay scale have benefited the most from employers’ scrimmage for workers. Still, pay increases seem outpaced by employers’ complaints about labor shortages.

Ask pretty much any general contractor, hospital leader or restaurant owner about his or her biggest headaches, and a lack of qualified workers comes up.

“Ten percent of our positions are always open,” said Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, a co-founder and chief executive of Grove Bay Hospitality in Miami, which operates several celebrity-chef restaurants and employs 450 people.

With two restaurants opening soon, Mr. Garcia-Menocal said he was looking to hire 40 to 50 people, from dishwashers who start at $10 an hour to general managers, whose salaries can range from $70,000 to $90,000 a year.

The competition for workers is intense, Mr. Garcia-Menocal said during a lunchtime shift at Root & Bone in Coral Gables, Fla.: “Somebody will jump to a place next door for a dollar.” He said that his company had also raised wages but that profit margins in the restaurant business were too slim to go much higher.

Grove Bay has dangled other incentives before its employees, including management training, health insurance and a paid monthlong sabbatical for those who have been with the company for seven years. The company regularly holds events for employees where prizes like iPhones, televisions and $1,000 gift cards are raffled off, Mr. Garcia-Menocal said.

He is also closely watching how Shake Shack’s experiment with a four-day workweek in some locations goes.

A survey of business owners last month by the National Federation of Independent Business found job creation remains at a historically high level.

“We’re seeing it across the economy: Companies are hiring across industries, from data analysts to delivery drivers,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “I meet with C.E.O.s across the country on a regular basis, and they say they can’t find the skilled workers they need.”

The low unemployment rate has helped Mr. Trump make the case that the economy’s growth is one of his signature achievements, an argument that is expected to be a cornerstone of his 2020 re-election strategy.

Democratic presidential candidates, by contrast, have tended to skip over the labor market when looking for the economy’s soft spots, pointing instead to mediocre wage increases, growing levels of household debt, yawning inequality, slowing growth and rising trade tensions.

During the Democratic debates this week, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, for example, said Americans were “living paycheck to paycheck” and denounced profitable corporations that avoided paying taxes.

Last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts posted an essay on Medium warning of “the coming economic crash” and the “economy’s shaky foundation.”

It is a strategy that Mr. Trump successfully used himself during the 2016 campaign. Although the jobless rate dropped sharply and millions of jobs were created during President Barack Obama’s tenure, Mr. Trump hammered away at the economy’s feeble spots, highlighting job losses in manufacturing and dismissing the government’s job reports as phony.

Even with the jobless rate now at a half-century low, the expansion remains uneven, and many Americans who are employed say they lack economic security and stability.

Senator Kamala Harris of California has accused the president of breaking his promises to farmers and autoworkers.

And Julián Castro, a housing secretary in the Obama administration, declared from the debate stage that “the idea that America is doing just fine is wrong.”

“There are a lot of Americans right now that are hurting,” he said. “Just go and ask the folks that just received notice that they’re getting laid off by General Motors.”

Automobile workers at the General Motors plant in Warren, Mich., clocked their last hours last week as the plant ended production. And car sales have been slipping nationwide.

Last month, the economy created 16,000 new manufacturing jobs, but the total number of hours worked in the sector declined.

Jobless rates vary wildly depending on location. In several metropolitan areas, including New Orleans and Flint, Mich., the unemployment rate lingers above the national average.

Retailers also continued to struggle, cutting jobs in July, the sixth month in a row. The mining sector contracted as well, probably because of lower oil prices.

July’s estimates will be revised twice more as the Labor Department collects new information. Revisions to previous reports shrank job gains in prior months by 41,000.

So far, the monthly average for the last three months is 140,000, compared with 223,000 in 2018.

But the labor market’s energy is still on display. Restaurants, business services, health care and education all posted solid gains. And as long as employers increase their payrolls by roughly 100,000 each month, job creation can keep pace with population growth.

“The trend is still strong enough to keep unemployment down,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at High Frequency Economics. “If the economy is truly weakening sharply, jobless claims should be going up and that hasn’t happened so far.”

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Climate Could Be an Electoral Time Bomb, Republican Strategists Fear

WASHINGTON — When election time comes next year, Will Galloway, a student and Republican youth leader at Clemson University, will look for candidates who are strong on the mainstream conservative causes he cares about most, including gun rights and opposing abortion.

But there is another issue high on his list of urgent concerns that is not on his party’s agenda: climate change.

“Climate change isn’t going to discriminate between red states and blue states, so red-state actors have to start engaging on these issues,” said Mr. Galloway, 19, who is heading into his sophomore year and is chairman of the South Carolina Federation of College Republicans. “But we haven’t been. We’ve completely ceded them to the left.”

While Donald Trump has led the Republican Party far down the road of denying the scientific consensus of human-caused climate change, Mr. Galloway represents a concern among younger Republicans that has caught the attention of Republican strategists.

In conversations with 10 G.O.P. analysts, consultants and activists, all said they were acutely aware of the rising influence of young voters like Mr. Galloway, who have never lived through a colder-than-average month and identify climate change as a top priority. Those strategists said lawmakers were aware, too, but few were taking action.

“We’re definitely sending a message to younger voters that we don’t care about things that are very important to them,” said Douglas Heye, a former communications director at the Republican National Committee. “This spells certain doom in the long term if there isn’t a plan to admit reality and have legislative prescriptions for it.”

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President Trump has set the tone for Republicans by deriding climate change, using White House resources to undermine science and avoiding even uttering the phrase. Outside of a handful of states such as Florida, where addressing climate change has become more bipartisan, analysts said Republican politicians were unlikely to buck Mr. Trump or even to talk about climate change on the campaign trail at all, except perhaps to criticize Democrats for supporting the Green New Deal.

That, several strategists warned, means the party stands to lose voters to Democrats in 2020 and beyond — a prospect they said was particularly worrisome in swing districts that Republicans must win to recapture a majority in the House of Representatives.

The polling bears out Mr. Heye’s prediction of a backlash. Nearly 60 percent of Republicans between the ages of 23 and 38 say that climate change is having an effect on the United States, and 36 percent believe humans are the cause. That’s about double the numbers of Republicans over age 52.

But younger generations are also now outvoting their elders. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, voters under the age of 53 cast 62.5 million votes in the 2018 midterm elections. Those 53 and older, by contrast, were responsible for 60.1 million votes.

“Americans believe climate change is real, and that number goes up every single month,” Frank Luntz, a veteran Republican strategist, told a Congressional panel recently. He also circulated a memo to congressional Republicans in June warning that climate change was “a G.O.P. vulnerability and a G.O.P. opportunity.”

A new Harvard University survey of voters under the age of 30 found that 73 percent of respondents disapproved of Mr. Trump’s approach to climate change (about the same proportion as those who object to his handling of race relations). Half the respondents identified as Republican or independent.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158337693_4d45a73a-2f4c-406d-b83b-e5c2dd447061-articleLarge Climate Could Be an Electoral Time Bomb, Republican Strategists Fear Youth United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Global Warming environment

Young Republicans at an address by President Trump in Washington in July. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“Here’s another gap between our party and younger voters,” said a recent report by a Republican polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies. Speaking of younger Republicans, the firm concluded that “climate change is their most important issue” and called the numbers “concerning” for the party’s future.

The full effect quite likely will not be felt until after the 2020 election cycle. President Trump’s campaign appears to have identified a strategy for winning re-election that relies on polarizing the electorate on issues like race, immigration and, it seems, climate change. But conservatives said the long term implications of that gambit were worrisome for the future of the party and the planet.

“He gets to set the national platform,” Joseph Majkut, director of climate policy at the Niskanen Center, a center-right research organization, said of Mr. Trump. But, he noted, “Every year that goes by, where people are going about their lives as if greenhouse gas emissions are a matter of very small concern, we make the problem worse for ourselves.”

Mr. Galloway and 45 other young Republicans with the American Conservation Coalition, a group that advocates for conservative environmental policies, brought that message to Washington last month when they lobbied Congress to address greenhouse gas emissions with free-market solutions.

“You can be skeptical of climate change all you want, but young people aren’t, and there’s no way conservatives are going to win elections if we don’t deal with climate change,” said Benjamin Backer, 21, the coalition’s founder and president.

Mr. Backer said he was encouraged by Mr. Trump’s environmental speech on July 8 as well as recent moves among some Republicans in Congress to advance climate policies. But he also said changes were not occurring fast enough to lure his generation of environmentally conscious conservatives.

In a Switch, Some Republicans Start Citing Climate Change as Driving Their Policies

Apr 30, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 00cli-republicans-1-promo-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 Climate Could Be an Electoral Time Bomb, Republican Strategists Fear Youth United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Global Warming environment

“There’s a lot of people out there who would probably vote Republican if they knew there was a conservative agenda on climate change,” Mr. Backer said. Instead, he said, “They’re going to go to the Democratic Party, because that’s the only party that’s talking about the environment.”

Mr. Trump’s core supporters say they’re not worried. Standing in the sweltering heat outside East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., last month as he waited for entry into a rally led by the president, Trey Bagley, 25, readily acknowledged climate science. But Mr. Bagley, a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserves wearing a “Trump 2020, Make Liberals Cry Again” shirt said that did not make him a Democrat.

“I completely agree that we’re offending the climate,” Mr. Bagley said. “But the solutions that are being introduced to fix it are going to drive us back into the Dark Ages.”

He’s not alone in that belief. To illustrate that, Alex Flint, executive director of the Alliance for Market Solutions, a conservative nonprofit group that advocates for a carbon tax, hit play on a video of 11 Trump voters around a hotel conference table in Florida discussing climate change. Government can’t be trusted to solve climate change, the focus group agreed. But like Mr. Bagley, they also all agreed that climate change is real.

“Republican orthodoxy is changing,” Mr. Flint said. “You’re safe saying you acknowledge climate change.”

He said climate change is hardly a top-tier topic among even moderate Republicans. But he noted it is a key differential issue in swing districts that can either help a candidate win young, college educated and female voters, or lose them.

“It’s a matter of honesty,” he said. “Voters believe it is happening, at the very least, they want their politicians to acknowledge reality.”

Scott Jennings, a Republican consultant and a former campaign adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said 2020 candidates in different states would take various approaches to climate change, but he predicted that most would focus on simply attacking Democrats and the Green New Deal.

Still, he said, “Someday Republicans are going to have to come up with some proposals that are responsive to these issues and, frankly, be more reasonable and more thoughtful.”

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

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Trump Drops Plans to Nominate John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence

Westlake Legal Group 02dc-ratcliffe-facebookJumbo Trump Drops Plans to Nominate John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ratcliffe, John Lee (1965- )

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday abruptly dropped his plan to nominate Representative John Ratcliffe, Republican of Texas, as the nation’s top intelligence official, following bipartisan questions about his qualifications and pushback over whether he had exaggerated his resume.

Mr. Ratcliffe, an outspoken supporter of Mr. Trump, has come under intense scrutiny since the president declared Sunday on Twitter that the lawmaker was his pick to succeed Dan Coats, who is stepping down as director of national intelligence on August 15. The selection generated scant enthusiasm among senators of both parties who would have been decided whether to confirm him.

Mr. Trump’s announcement that Mr. Ratcliffe would not be his nominee after all, also made on Twitter, spoke bitterly of the attention Mr. Ratcliffe’s claims about his experience as a federal prosecutor quickly received from the news media.

The announcement was another reversal for the president and underscored recurring dysfunction in the White House vetting process that has plagued the administration. Mr. Ratcliffe joined a long list of Trump appointees who have had to pull their names after the president announced his plans to put them in powerful posts, without a full picture of potentially disqualifying details.

The backtrack leaves Mr. Trump without any obvious candidate to fill one of the country’s most important national-security jobs, heightening scrutiny on what will happen with Sue Gordon, Mr. Coats’s No. 2. Mr. Trump has already decided not to allow her to rise to the role of acting director of national intelligence when Mr. Coats steps down, according to people familiar with his plans.

The decision to circumvent Ms. Gordon, who has served as the principal deputy director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will probably upset Republicans and Democrats in the Senate who had expressed doubts about Mr. Ratcliffe.

Mr. Trump recently blocked Ms. Gordon from personally delivering an intelligence briefing after she arrived at the White House, according to a person familiar with the matter. A spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence, Amanda J. Schoch, said Ms. Gordon was not blocked from attending any recent briefing, but she declined to comment about what happened inside the Oval Office.

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Trump Drops Plans to Nominate John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence

Westlake Legal Group 02dc-ratcliffe-facebookJumbo Trump Drops Plans to Nominate John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ratcliffe, John Lee (1965- )

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday abruptly dropped his plan to nominate Representative John Ratcliffe, Republican of Texas, as the nation’s top intelligence official, following bipartisan questions about his qualifications and pushback over whether he had exaggerated his resume.

Mr. Ratcliffe, an outspoken supporter of Mr. Trump, has come under intense scrutiny since the president declared Sunday on Twitter that the lawmaker was his pick to succeed Dan Coats, who is stepping down as director of national intelligence on August 15. The selection generated scant enthusiasm among senators of both parties who would have been decided whether to confirm him.

Mr. Trump’s announcement that Mr. Ratcliffe would not be his nominee after all, also made on Twitter, spoke bitterly of the attention Mr. Ratcliffe’s claims about his experience as a federal prosecutor quickly received from the news media.

The announcement was another reversal for the president and underscored recurring dysfunction in the White House vetting process that has plagued the administration. Mr. Ratcliffe joined a long list of Trump appointees who have had to pull their names after the president announced his plans to put them in powerful posts, without a full picture of potentially disqualifying details.

The backtrack leaves Mr. Trump without any obvious candidate to fill one of the country’s most important national-security jobs, heightening scrutiny on what will happen with Sue Gordon, Mr. Coats’s No. 2. Mr. Trump has already decided not to allow her to rise to the role of acting director of national intelligence when Mr. Coats steps down, according to people familiar with his plans.

The decision to circumvent Ms. Gordon, who has served as the principal deputy director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will probably upset Republicans and Democrats in the Senate who had expressed doubts about Mr. Ratcliffe.

Mr. Trump recently blocked Ms. Gordon from personally delivering an intelligence briefing after she arrived at the White House, according to a person familiar with the matter. A spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence, Amanda J. Schoch, said Ms. Gordon was not blocked from attending any recent briefing, but she declined to comment about what happened inside the Oval Office.

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Trump Won’t Let No. 2 Spy Chief Take Over When Coats Leaves

Westlake Legal Group 02dc-dni-facebookJumbo Trump Won’t Let No. 2 Spy Chief Take Over When Coats Leaves Trump, Donald J Ratcliffe, John Lee (1965- ) Office of the Director of National Intelligence Espionage and Intelligence Services Coats, Dan central intelligence agency

WASHINGTON — The White House is planning to block Sue Gordon, the nation’s No. 2 intelligence official, from rising to the role of acting director of national intelligence when Dan Coats steps down this month, according to people familiar with the Trump administration’s plans.

The decision to circumvent Ms. Gordon, who has served as the principal deputy director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is likely to upset Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. They have expressed doubts about Representative John Ratcliffe, Republican of Texas, who is President Trump’s choice to be the next Senate-confirmed leader of the agency.

Mr. Trump did not allow Ms. Gordon to deliver a recent intelligence briefing, according to a person familiar with the matter. Opposition in the White House to letting her serve as acting director has raised the question of whether she will be ousted as part of a leadership shuffle at the intelligence director’s office that will be more to Mr. Trump’s liking.

A federal statute says that if the position of director of national intelligence becomes vacant, the deputy director — currently Ms. Gordon — shall serve as acting director.

But there appears to be a loophole: The law gives the White House much more flexibility in choosing who to appoint as the acting deputy if the No. 2 position is vacant, said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who specializes in national-security legal issues.

Ms. Gordon will retire if told by the White House that Mr. Trump wants someone else in the deputy’s role who could then rise to fill the vacancy created when Mr. Coats departs, according to officials.

Mr. Ratcliffe, an outspoken supporter of Mr. Trump, has thin national security experience relevant to overseeing the work of the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies. The scrutiny that he is now receiving also brought to light that he exaggerated his résumé when running for office.

Ms. Gordon, who has served more than 30 years in intelligence posts at the C.I.A. and other agencies, has not been officially informed by the White House that Mr. Trump intends to name someone else to oversee the intelligence agency until the Senate confirms a new director of national intelligence, officials said.

But the White House requested this week that the office provide a list of senior officials who worked for the agency, according to a senior administration official — a move that was interpreted as another sign that it is looking beyond her for people who could be temporarily installed in the top position.

When Mr. Trump posted tweets Sunday announcing that Mr. Coats would step down on Aug. 15 and that he intended to nominate Mr. Ratcliffe, the president hinted that Ms. Gordon might not automatically become the acting director in the interim, saying an acting director would be named soon.

Those tweets prompted concern on Capitol Hill that Mr. Trump would circumvent Ms. Gordon. The next day, Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressly referred to the fact that he looked forward to working with Ms. Gordon, calling her “a trusted partner.”

On Thursday, Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, who is the committee’s vice chairman, said the law was “pretty clear” that the acting role goes to the deputy when the director of national intelligence leaves. “This is something that’s very bipartisan,” Mr. Warner said. “Every member of the intelligence committee has enormous respect for Sue Gordon.”

Ms. Gordon’s experience is not necessarily a point in her favor for the White House, where Mr. Trump and his allies view the permanent bureaucracy of national security professionals with suspicion as a so-called deep state that may be out to get him.

Mr. Trump and House Republicans have made clear that they believe a broad reorganization of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is needed. Administration officials and House Republicans also have said they would like someone at the agency who will work well with Attorney General William P. Barr, who has ordered a review of the intelligence agencies’ support for the F.B.I. as the bureau sought to understand Moscow’s covert efforts to tilt the 2016 election, including any links to the Trump campaign.

There appears little chance that the Senate, which is currently gone for its summer recess, will swiftly confirm Mr. Ratcliffe, in light of the bipartisan skepticism about his qualifications and questions about the honesty of his résumé.

The White House has bypassed the legally prescribed usual order of succession to appoint acting officials at several agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. It has obtained the approval of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to not follow succession statutes by instead invoking the complex Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

Under the Vacancies Reform Act, a president may pick someone other than a No. 2 official to serve as acting head of an agency so long as that appointee is either a sufficiently senior official at the same agency or is currently serving in a Senate-confirmed position in the broader executive branch.

Mr. Chesney noted that certain language in the 2004 law that created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is written more restrictively and in a way that he said strongly indicates Congress did not intend for the Vacancies Reform Act to be available for filling the position of director.

However, he also flagged a complexity — one that resonates with the White House’s request for a list of senior officials at the office. According to the person familiar with internal thinking, the White House specifically wanted a list of “cadre” officials, meaning employees who work directly for the director’s office rather than employees of other agencies who are merely on a temporary assignment.

An alternative, less obvious interpretation of the law, Mr. Chesney said, could be that a president may use the Vacancies Reform Act to install some senior agency official other than the No. 2 as acting director, so long as that appointee worked directly for the office and was not a detailee.

He said that while this maneuver would require what he portrayed as a dubious interpretation of the law, it could create a way for what he viewed as a “happy result” — letting Ms. Gordon remain in place. The broader danger, he said, is that if the White House moves to bring in outsiders in both the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, there would be no one atop the intelligence community who had “the benefit of a career person who knows how to run the place.”

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July Jobs Report: U.S. Added 164,000 Jobs; Unemployment Unchanged

  • 164,000 jobs were added last month. Economists had expected a gain of about 165,000.

  • The unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, the same as in June.

  • Average hourly earnings rose by 0.3 percent. The year-over-year gain was 3.2 percent.

Just two days after the Federal Reserve moved to ward off economic snags by paring interest rates, the monthly jobs report signals that the labor market is maintaining its energy during a record-long hiring streak.

While last month’s payroll additions did not match gains in June, July’s numbers show that employers continue to make room for new job seekers.

“Job gains were fairly broad-based across different sectors,” said Gregory Daco, chief economist of Oxford Economics USA. “This was a good jobs report overall.”

Restaurants, business services, health care and education all posted solid gains. And the manufacturing sector, which had been slowing, created 16,000 jobs.

The tight job market is continuing to pull in workers from the sidelines, and the labor force participation rate, which has not yet returned to pre-recession levels, did tick up. A broader measure of unemployment that includes part-timers who would prefer to work full-time and those too discouraged to even look for a job dropped to 7 percent, the lowest rate since 2000.

Retailers continued to struggle, cutting jobs in July for the sixth month in a row. The mining sector also contracted, probably partly as a result of lower oil prices.

Revisions to previous reports reduced job creation in prior months by 41,000. Payroll gains have clearly slowed since last year when the average monthly gain was 223,000. The monthly average for the last three months was 140,000. But this cooling is not surprising since the expansion has now passed the 10-year mark.

And as long as employers create roughly 100,000 jobs each month, the labor market can keep pace with population growth and the jobless rate will hold steady.

“If the economy is truly weakening sharply, jobless claims should be going up,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, “and that hasn’t happened so far.”

The report reinforces the Fed’s stance that the economy’s underpinnings remain strong, even though it is unlikely to temper the push for further rate cuts from investors and President Trump.

Anxiety about the economy stems less from the labor market than from concerns about a global slowdown, trade tensions, muted inflation and the risk of tightening financial conditions.

Mr. Trump ratcheted up those concerns on Thursday by announcing he intends to impose a 10 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports created more uncertainty about trade.

“Trump is trying to kill two birds with one stone: getting China to accept any type of trade deal and pushing the Fed to cut rates,” Mr. Daco of Oxford said. “It’s like shooting yourself in the foot just to get another dose of morphine. It’s not a good approach.”

Those worries, though most likely behind a slowdown in manufacturing, have not yet trickled down to the rest of economy. Confident consumers are still snapping open their wallets, and employers are searching for more workers.

“We’re seeing it across the economy: Companies are hiring across industries, from data analysts to delivery drivers,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “I meet with C.E.O.s across the country on a regular basis, and they say they can’t find the skilled workers they need.”

The number of new applicants applying for unemployment insurance has stayed low.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158738964_d542ff19-a609-48c7-bafd-23c5dd06a245-articleLarge July Jobs Report: U.S. Added 164,000 Jobs; Unemployment Unchanged Wages and Salaries United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Federal Reserve System

Martin Espinosa inspected a truck and refueled it at the Doral Ryder location in Miami.CreditMaria Alejandra Cardona for The New York Times

A survey of business owners last month by the National Federation of Independent Business found job creation remains at a historically high level.

Ask pretty much any general contractor, hospital leader or restaurant owner about his or her biggest headaches, and a lack of qualified workers comes up.

“Ten percent of our positions are always open,” said Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, a co-founder and chief executive of Grove Bay Hospitality, which operates several celebrity-chef restaurants and employs 450 people. With two restaurants opening soon, Mr. Garcia-Menocal said he was looking to hire 40 to 50 people, from dishwashers who start at $10 an hour to general managers, whose salaries can range from $70,000 to $90,000 a year.

The competition for workers is intense, Mr. Garcia-Menocal said during a lunchtime shift at Root & Bone in Coral Gables, Fla.: “Somebody will jump to a place next door for a dollar.” He said that his company had also raised wages but profit margins in the restaurant business were too thin to go much higher.

Grove Bay has dangled other incentives before its employees, including management training, health insurance and a paid monthlong sabbatical for those who have been with the company for seven years. The company regularly holds events for employees where prizes like iPhones, televisions and $1,000 gift cards are raffled off, Mr. Garcia-Menocal said.

He is also closely watching how Shake Shack’s experiment with a four-day workweek in some locations goes.

Frank Lopez, executive vice president and chief human resources officer for Ryder System, which has 800 locations throughout North America, said explosive growth over the past five years had cranked up his company’s need for skilled workers, particularly drivers and diesel mechanics.

“I’m never at full employment,” Mr. Lopez said.

To cope, the truck leasing, maintenance and logistics company has stepped up its efforts to develop its own talent pool, looking to recruit students right out of high school and service members finishing up military tours. It has also become partners with Women in Trucking, a trade association, to attract more women to the industry.

“Someone can start out pumping fuel and washing trucks and become a trained mechanic,” Mr. Lopez said.

The building trades have also ramped up their recruitment of women, which Jim Grossmann, director of construction operations at Suffolk Construction, described as “an untapped population.” His company employs 2,300 people.

Those at the lower end of the pay scale have benefited the most from employers’ scrimmage for workers. Still, pay increases seem far outpaced by complaints from employers about labor shortages. Average wage growth has kept its nose above the 3 percent mark, but the pace has not moved much in recent months, feeding concerns that wage growth has plateaued.

Some analysts expected much stronger government hiring as the Census Bureau gears up for its 2020 count. Only 2,000 workers have been hired so far this year even though preliminary canvassing is supposed to start in August. By comparison, the bureau had hired tens of thousands of temporary workers by spring 2009. New technology has significantly reduced the need for staff, according to the bureau.

The number of jobs created this year has not matched the 223,000 monthly average in 2018, when steep tax cuts and government spending revved up the economy.

Still, the low unemployment rate has helped Mr. Trump make the case that the economy’s growth is one of his signature achievements, a boast that is expected to be a cornerstone of his 2020 re-election strategy.

Democratic contenders, by contrast, have had to skip over the labor market when looking for the economy’s soft spots. They have pointed to mediocre wage increases, growing levels of household debt, yawning inequality, slowing growth and rising trade tensions.

During the Democratic debates this week, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, for example, said Americans were “living paycheck to paycheck” and denounced profitable corporations that avoided paying taxes.

Julián Castro, the housing secretary in the Obama administration, declared that “the idea that America is doing just fine is wrong.”

“There are a lot of Americans right now that are hurting,” he said. “Just go and ask the folks that just received notice that they’re getting laid off by General Motors.”

And last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts posted an essay on Medium warning of “the coming economic crash” and the “economy’s shaky foundation.”

It is a strategy that Mr. Trump used himself during this 2016 campaign. Although the jobless rate dropped sharply and millions of jobs were created during President Barack Obama’s tenure, Mr. Trump hammered away at the economy’s weaknesses, highlighting job losses in manufacturing and dismissing the government’s job reports as phony.

Even with the jobless rate at a 50-year low, the expansion remains uneven. A broader measure of unemployment that includes part-timers who would prefer full-time work and people who are too discouraged to even search for a job is close to twice the official unemployment rate. That helps explain why so many Americans say they lack economic security and stability.

And the jobless rates for African-Americans and Hispanics are much higher than they are for whites.

The job picture also varies widely depending on location. In several metropolitan areas, including New Orleans and Flint, Mich., the unemployment rate lingers above the national average.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

China Wants to Hit Back at Trump. Its Own Economy Stands in the Way.

BEIJING — As China considers ways to retaliate against President Trump’s mounting tariffs, it has increasingly acknowledged that it must first address its main obstacle to punching back: its own slumping economy.

Chinese officials have vowed to respond with measures of their own if Mr. Trump follows through on his threat to put 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports a year. If Mr. Trump enacts the tariffs next month, as he said he would do on Thursday, the costs would rise for nearly everything China ships to the United States, from shoes to car parts to the latest gadgets.

On Friday, China’s Ministry of Commerce, which is heavily involved in the country’s trade policy, said it would “take necessary counter measures to resolutely defend the core interests of the country and the fundamental interests of the people.”

The question is how. China’s imports from the United States only a fraction of the trade going the other way, so it cannot match Washington tariff for tariff. Much of that trade consists of agriculture goods like soybeans, as well as specialized products like Boeing jetliners or the American-made chips for the smartphones China makes.

[Meet the Trump-taunting editor at China’s ‘Fox News,’ a key voice in the trade war.]

There are several things China could do. It could call for a boycott of American goods or stop buying Boeing planes. It could devalue its currency, which would in effect partially nullify American tariffs. It could make life much harder for American business and executives in China, or it could exercise its power over key parts of the global supply chain, like its dominance over key manufacturing minerals called rare earths.

Some investors on Friday signaled they expect at least one of those moves. China’s currency, the renminbi, fell to its weakest point so far this year. Shares of rare earths companies rose, while Boeing’s shares fell more than the broader market on Thursday.

But each of these measures has drawbacks. Perhaps the biggest among them is that China’s economy is growing at its slowest pace in 27 years. Many of the arrows Beijing has in its quiver could ricochet and hit its own factories and workers.

Chinese officials have signaled in recent weeks that tackling sluggish growth is a necessity for prevailing in the trade war, especially as it looks to drag on for months or perhaps years. That prospect was made clearer still to Chinese leaders on Thursday, as Mr. Trump’s latest threat came just one day after top American negotiators concluded talks with their Chinese counterparts in Shanghai.

“China has to make long-term plans, and it will be more focused on itself,” said Song Guoyou, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University.

“It cannot change the Sino-U.S. trade war process, which makes China realize that it should put more focus on domestic reform,” said Dr. Song.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158746464_5b30ddaf-7cab-4424-b665-d9b31e56bd15-articleLarge China Wants to Hit Back at Trump. Its Own Economy Stands in the Way. Xi Jinping United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Renminbi (Currency) International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends China

Shipping containers from China and Asia at the Long Beach port in California.CreditMark Ralston/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, has called on Chinese people to brace for a period of hardship. In recent months, the country’s central bank has allowed money to flow into infrastructure projects, a once-reliable recipe for growth that now threatens to add to a national mountain of debt.

Senior officials gathering this week at a high-level economic meeting chaired by Mr. Xi said China needed to tap domestic demand to help manage what they described as new economic risks and challenges. They also hinted that the central bank could pump more money into the system to allow local governments to shore up the economy over the next few months.

“The Chinese will no longer give priority to controlling trade war scale,” Hu Xijin, the outspoken editor of China’s nationalist tabloid Global Times, said on Twitter. “They will focus on the national strategy under a prolonged trade war.”

Officials are also taking concrete steps to shift China’s dependence on the United States for certain goods. They have focused efforts on new trade partnerships with countries like Japan and South Korea and lowered trade barriers for other countries. They have also struck deals to import agricultural goods from countries other than the United States. This week, China approved barley imports from Russia.

The strategy has risks, especially if the trade war continues to drag on. China has plenty of financial firepower at its disposal, including the savings of its people inside its state-controlled banks and a vast hoard of foreign currency. Its control of the local media can also go a long way toward preparing its people for tough times.

But supporting its vast economy, the world’s second largest after the United States, could get increasingly expensive. Mr. Xi could wait for next year’s American elections to see whether voters oust Mr. Trump, but at least some of the potential Democratic candidates also favor a tough stance against Beijing.

If Mr. Trump makes good on his promise of new tariffs next month, China has some measures that it can turn back to, including placing tariffs on the rest of China’s exports to the United States.

It could also begin to place American companies on an “unreliable entities list” it recently announced in response to an American blacklist. China has already issued warnings about FedEx, which it has accused of delaying shipments from Huawei.

It could also make life more difficult for American businesses, by holding executives at the border through so-called “exit bans,” and by slowing the pace of license approvals and deal clearances.

Officials could also call on consumers to boycott products from American brands like Apple. But such a move could also backfire because it would hit factories that employ hundreds of thousands of people and dent growth at a time when the government is depending on consumers to help kick-start the economic growth engines.

One measure that would also help to soften the blow of new tariffs would be to devalue the renminbi. This approach, however, is fraught with problems. Money flooded out of the country when China shocked markets four years ago with a surprise devaluation, prompting Beijing to tighten its control of money flowing through its border and spend $1 trillion to shore up the currency.

A brokerage house in Beijing. China’s currency, the renminbi, fell to its weakest point so far this year.CreditMark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

It could also seriously escalate tensions. Mr. Trump has repeatedly complained that Beijing weakens the renminbi in order to take advantage of the United States. A cheaper currency gives Chinese factories an advantage when selling goods in the United States.

In fact, Beijing right now is preventing, not enabling, a weaker currency. The renminbi would weaken if Chinese officials relaxed their grip.

China may do exactly that. They make take a freer hand with the currency, letting it weaken toward 7 renminbi against the dollar, a psychologically important marker that would be likely to get the Trump administration’s attention if it was passed.

“Psychologically, it is important, but economics trump politics at the moment,” said Shaun Roache, chief economist for Asia Pacific at S&P Global.

However, officials would have to risk letting the currency fall too quickly, which would set off panic in China and trigger outflows.

On Friday, the renminbi dropped to its lowest level so far this year against the dollar, hovering at 6.9590 renminbi.

Before September, however, it is unlikely that Chinese officials will take much retaliatory action.

“China will try to focus much more on domestic stability than retaliation. We were seeing growth start to stabilize but it was by no means guaranteed. Their first priority is domestic stability,” said Mr. Roache.

As they consider their moves, Chinese officials will also try to parse Mr. Trump’s negotiating strategy. Experts said his capricious style had flummoxed Beijing.

“We don’t know how to deal with this either,” Tu Xinquan, the president of the China Institute for W.T.O. Studies at the University of International Business and Economics.

“Is he a sane person at all?” Professor Tu said of the latest move by Mr. Trump. “It’s quite surprising. Didn’t the White House just announce that the trade talks were constructive?”

But, he added, if new tariffs kick in on Sept. 1, “I think the Chinese side will stop trade talks completely.”

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U.S. Added 164,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Rate at 3.7 Percent

  • 164,000 jobs were added last month. Economists had expected a gain of about 165,000.

  • The unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, the same as in June.

  • Average hourly earnings rose by 0.3 percent. The year-over-year gain was 3.2 percent.

Just two days after the Federal Reserve moved to ward off economic snags by paring interest rates, the monthly jobs report signals that the labor market is maintaining its energy during a record-long hiring streak.

While last month’s payroll additions did not match gains in June, July’s numbers show that employers continue to make room for new job seekers.

“Job gains were fairly broad-based across different sectors,” said Gregory Daco, chief economist of Oxford Economics USA. “This was a good jobs report overall.”

Restaurants, business services, health care and education all posted solid gains. And the manufacturing sector, which had been slowing, created 16,000 jobs.

The tight job market is continuing to pull in workers from the sidelines, and the labor force participation rate, which has not yet returned to pre-recession levels, did tick up. A broader measure of unemployment that includes part-timers who would prefer to work full-time and those too discouraged to even look for a job dropped to 7 percent, the lowest rate since 2000.

Retailers continued to struggle, cutting jobs in July for the sixth month in a row. The mining sector also contracted, probably partly as a result of lower oil prices.

Revisions to previous reports reduced job creation in prior months by 41,000. Payroll gains have clearly slowed since last year when the average monthly gain was 223,000. The monthly average for the last three months was 140,000. But this cooling is not surprising since the expansion has now passed the 10-year mark.

And as long as employers create roughly 100,000 jobs each month, the labor market can keep pace with population growth and the jobless rate will hold steady.

The report reinforces the Fed’s stance that the economy’s underpinnings remain strong, even though it is unlikely to temper the push for further rate cuts from investors and President Trump.

Anxiety about the economy stems less from the labor market than from concerns about a global slowdown, trade tensions, muted inflation and the risk of tightening financial conditions.

Mr. Trump ratcheted up those concerns on Thursday by announcing he intends to impose a 10 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports created more uncertainty about trade.

“Trump is trying to kill two birds with one stone: getting China to accept any type of trade deal and pushing the Fed to cut rates,” Mr. Daco said. “It’s like shooting yourself in the foot just to get another dose of morphine. It’s not a good approach.”

Those worries, though most likely behind a slowdown in manufacturing, have not yet trickled down to the rest of economy. Confident consumers are still snapping open their wallets, and employers are searching for more workers.

“We’re seeing it across the economy: Companies are hiring across industries, from data analysts to delivery drivers,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “I meet with C.E.O.s across the country on a regular basis, and they say they can’t find the skilled workers they need.”

The number of new applicants applying for unemployment insurance has stayed low.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158738964_d542ff19-a609-48c7-bafd-23c5dd06a245-articleLarge U.S. Added 164,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Rate at 3.7 Percent Wages and Salaries United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Labor and Jobs Interest Rates Federal Reserve System

Martin Espinosa inspected a truck and refueled it at the Doral Ryder location in Miami.CreditMaria Alejandra Cardona for The New York Times

A survey of business owners last month by the National Federation of Independent Business found job creation remains at a historically high level.

Ask pretty much any general contractor, hospital leader or restaurant owner about his or her biggest headaches, and a lack of qualified workers comes up.

“Ten percent of our positions are always open,” said Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, a co-founder and chief executive of Grove Bay Hospitality, which operates several celebrity-chef restaurants and employs 450 people. With two restaurants opening soon, Mr. Garcia-Menocal said he was looking to hire 40 to 50 people, from dishwashers who start at $10 an hour to general managers, whose salaries can range from $70,000 to $90,000 a year.

The competition for workers is intense, Mr. Garcia-Menocal said during a lunchtime shift at Root & Bone in Coral Gables, Fla.: “Somebody will jump to a place next door for a dollar.” He said that his company had also raised wages but profit margins in the restaurant business were too thin to go much higher.

Grove Bay has dangled other incentives before its employees, including management training, health insurance and a paid monthlong sabbatical for those who have been with the company for seven years. The company regularly holds events for employees where prizes like iPhones, televisions and $1,000 gift cards are raffled off, Mr. Garcia-Menocal said.

He is also closely watching how Shake Shack’s experiment with a four-day workweek in some locations goes.

Frank Lopez, executive vice president and chief human resources officer for Ryder System, which has 800 locations throughout North America, said explosive growth over the past five years had cranked up his company’s need for skilled workers, particularly drivers and diesel mechanics.

“I’m never at full employment,” Mr. Lopez said.

To cope, the truck leasing, maintenance and logistics company has stepped up its efforts to develop its own talent pool, looking to recruit students right out of high school and service members finishing up military tours. It has also become partners with Women in Trucking, a trade association, to attract more women to the industry.

“Someone can start out pumping fuel and washing trucks and become a trained mechanic,” Mr. Lopez said.

The building trades have also ramped up their recruitment of women, which Jim Grossmann, director of construction operations at Suffolk Construction, described as “an untapped population.” His company employs 2,300 people.

Those at the lower end of the pay scale have benefited the most from employers’ scrimmage for workers. Still, pay increases seem far outpaced by complaints from employers about labor shortages. Average wage growth has kept its nose above the 3 percent mark, but the pace has not moved much in recent months, feeding concerns that wage growth has plateaued.

Some analysts expected much stronger government hiring as the Census Bureau gears up for its 2020 count. Only 2,000 workers have been hired so far this year even though preliminary canvassing is supposed to start in August. By comparison, the bureau had hired tens of thousands of temporary workers by spring 2009. New technology has significantly reduced the need for staff, according to the bureau.

The number of jobs created this year has not matched the 223,000 monthly average in 2018, when steep tax cuts and government spending revved up the economy.

Still, the low unemployment rate has helped Mr. Trump make the case that the economy’s growth is one of his signature achievements, a boast that is expected to be a cornerstone of his 2020 re-election strategy.

Democratic contenders, by contrast, have had to skip over the labor market when looking for the economy’s soft spots. They have pointed to mediocre wage increases, growing levels of household debt, yawning inequality, slowing growth and rising trade tensions.

During the Democratic debates this week, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, for example, said Americans were “living paycheck to paycheck” and denounced profitable corporations that avoided paying taxes.

Julián Castro, the housing secretary in the Obama administration, declared that “the idea that America is doing just fine is wrong.”

“There are a lot of Americans right now that are hurting,” he said. “Just go and ask the folks that just received notice that they’re getting laid off by General Motors.”

And last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts posted an essay on Medium warning of “the coming economic crash” and the “economy’s shaky foundation.”

It is a strategy that Mr. Trump used himself during this 2016 campaign. Although the jobless rate dropped sharply and millions of jobs were created during President Barack Obama’s tenure, Mr. Trump hammered away at the economy’s weaknesses, highlighting job losses in manufacturing and dismissing the government’s job reports as phony.

Even with the jobless rate at a 50-year low, the expansion remains uneven. A broader measure of unemployment that includes part-timers who would prefer full-time work and people who are too discouraged to even search for a job is close to twice the official unemployment rate. That helps explain why so many Americans say they lack economic security and stability.

And the jobless rates for African-Americans and Hispanics are much higher than they are for whites.

The job picture also varies widely depending on location. In several metropolitan areas, including New Orleans and Flint, Mich., the unemployment rate lingers above the national average.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Ends Cold War Missile Treaty, With Aim of Countering China

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WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday terminated a major treaty of the Cold War, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement, and it is already planning to start testing a new class of missiles later this summer.

But the new missiles are unlikely to be deployed to counter the treaty’s other nuclear power, Russia, which the United States has said for years was in violation of the accord. Instead, the first deployments are likely to be intended to counter China, which has amassed an imposing missile arsenal and is now seen as a much more formidable long-term strategic rival than Russia.

The moves by Washington have elicited concern that the United States may be on the precipice of a new arms race, especially because the one major remaining arms control treaty with Russia, a far larger one called New START, appears on life support, unlikely to be renewed when it expires in less than two years.

At a moment when the potential for nuclear confrontations with North Korea and Iran is rising, the American decision to abandon the 32-year-old treaty has prompted new worries in Europe and Asia, and warnings that echo an era that once seemed banished to the history books. The resurgence of nuclear geopolitics was evident in the Democratic debate on Tuesday night, when presidential hopefuls grappled with whether the United States should renounce “first use” of nuclear weapons in any future conflict.

“The United States and Russia are now in a state of strategic instability,” Ernest J. Moniz, the former energy secretary, and Sam Nunn, the former Georgia senator who helped draft the legislation that funded the drastic reduction in former Soviet nuclear forces, write in a coming article in Foreign Affairs ominously titled “The Return to Doomsday.” “Not since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis has the risk of a U.S.-Russian confrontation involving the use of nuclear weapons been as high as it is today. Yet unlike during the Cold War, both sides seem willfully blind to the peril.”

Others are less concerned about the implications with Russia, noting that the treaty is limited, covering only a narrow class of missiles.

President Barack Obama considered terminating the treaty when Moscow was first accused of violating its terms. On Thursday, just as his aides were confirming the American withdrawal and blaming Russia for the breakdown, President Trump told reporters that Russia “would like to do something on a nuclear treaty” and added later, “So would I.” But he appeared to be discussing a broader treaty that would involve China — which has said it has no intention of negotiating a limit on its arsenal.

In fact, the administration has argued that China is one reason Mr. Trump decided to exit the I.N.F. treaty. Most experts now assess that China has the most advanced conventional missile arsenal in the world, based throughout the mainland. When the treaty went into effect in 1987, China’s missile fleet was judged so rudimentary that it was not even a consideration.

Today hundreds of missiles in southeast China are within range of Taiwan, the self-governing democratic island supported by the United States. Missiles at other sites can hit Japan and India, and there are Chinese missiles that can strike the United States territory of Guam and other potential targets in what American strategists call the second-island chain.

“Unilateral constraint was a losing proposition: China developed the world’s foremost force of missiles precisely within the ranges that I.N.F. would prohibit,” said Andrew Erickson, a professor of strategy at the United States Naval War College. “So this increasingly antiquated treaty had no future.”

Until now, the Trump administration has held off on testing new missiles that would violate the treaty; under its terms, even testing is prohibited. But that stricture lifts on Friday, and the first test of new American intermediate-range missiles is likely to begin within weeks, according to American officials familiar with the Pentagon’s plans.

The first, perhaps as early as this month, is expected to be a test of a version of a common, sea-launched cruise missile, the Tomahawk. It would be modified to be fired from the ground. (The treaty prohibited intermediate-range ground-launched missiles, but not missiles launched from ships or airplanes.) If successful, officials say, the first ground-launched cruise missiles could be deployed within 18 months or so — if the United States can find a country willing to house them.

That would be followed by a test of a new mobile, ground-launched ballistic missile with a range of 1,800 to 2,500 miles, before the end of the year. But that would be an entirely new missile, and it is not likely to be deployed for another five years or so — meaning the very end of the Trump presidency, if he is re-elected.

But the question is where to deploy them. “I don’t think the Europeans want to host them,” Gary Samore, the director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University and the chief nuclear strategist at the National Security Council under Mr. Obama, said on Thursday. In Asia, he noted, the two countries where it would make most sense to deploy the missiles would be Japan and South Korea, though any move to put the missiles there could infuriate China.

“The real question is where and whether or not there would be pushback,” said Bonnie S. Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The most obvious place is someplace in Japan.”

Mr. Samore noted that the fate of New START, which governs the strategic weapons the United States and Russia have deployed, “is much more important than I.N.F.” Senior military officials agree, but have added that once the I.N.F. treaty dies, it is hard to imagine a negotiation to renew New START, which expires in February 2021, right after the next presidential inauguration.

Even if it is renewed, Mr. Samore noted that in coming years, the source of strategic instability may not come just from nuclear weapons but also “from space weapons, artificial intelligence and cyber — and there we have no restraints.”

But it is China’s rocket forces that have focused the attention of the Pentagon and the Trump administration. In 2017, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., then the head of United States Pacific Command, said in congressional testimony that the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force controls the “largest and most diverse missile force in the world, with an inventory of more than 2,000 ballistic and cruise missiles.” He pointed out that the United States capability lagged because of its adherence to the treaty with Russia, and that if China were a signatory, 95 percent of its missiles would be in violation.

But deploying a counterforce to Taiwan would be too provocative, officials say, and Japan may have hesitations: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would have to consider the blow that would result to relations between Beijing and Tokyo, which have been improving.

China’s fury at deployment of American ground-based missiles in an Asian nation probably would be even greater than its reaction in 2016 and 2017 to plans to install an American antimissile system in South Korea.

For more than a year after the announcement of the deployment, Beijing denounced the move and called for a wide boycott of products from South Korea, whose companies then suffered. The Americans began deploying the system, commonly known as THAAD, in March 2017, and Beijing did not relent on its actions against South Korea until that October. Communist Party leaders feared the United States was laying the groundwork for an expansive antimissile system across Asia.

Chinese officials have also balked at any attempt to limit their missiles with a new treaty, arguing that the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia are much larger and deadlier.

“The Trump idea of a trilateral arms control agreement is not realistic,” Mr. Samore said. “The Chinese are not going to codify an inferior number of weapons compared to the United States and Russia. And Russia and the U.S. won’t give China equal status.”

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