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Trump’s economic gamble: Solid job gains vs. risky trade war

July 8, 2018
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FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, photo, a recruiter in the shale gas industry, left, speaks with an attendee of a job fair in Cheswick, Pa. Employers in the United States are thought to have kept up their brisk pace of hiring in June 2018, reflecting the durability of the second-longest U.S. economic expansion on record even in the face of a trade war with China. Economists have estimated that 195,000 jobs were added last month and that the unemployment rate remained at an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, according to data provider FactSet. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — From the safety of a resilient U.S. economy, President Donald Trump lit the fuse Friday on a high-risk trade war with China.

History suggests that a cycle of tariffs and retaliations can eventually choke economic growth. But for now, employers, investors and U.S. consumers are weighing the perils of a prolonged rift between the world’s two largest economies against a far more positive backdrop: America’s healthiest job market in years.

Evidently confident despite the risks ahead, U.S. employers have added jobs this year at a robust monthly average of 214,500. Many businesses say they’ve reached the point where they can’t even find enough people to fill jobs. Unemployment is at a low 4 percent.

All that hiring is occurring in an economic expansion that is entering its 10th year.

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