Hassett Says Data Show No Evidence Trade Anxiety Hurting Economy

(Bloomberg) -- White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett said worries about U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs that have already been imposed aren’t showing up in jobs data.

“There isn’t clear evidence in the data that the anxiety over trade is being harmful to the industries that we would most watch for harm in,” Hassett said Friday in a Bloomberg Television interview after the U.S. released employment and trade data and new tariffs took effect. “If they were really concerned about it, we would have expected to see layoffs.”

Reports showed U.S. hiring topped forecasts in June while the trade deficit in May was the smallest since October 2016.

“One of things that we’ve been watching for is negative impact in the data from the anxiety over trade,” Hassett said. “If you look in this jobs report, then one of the key places where you’d see that would be in the metal-using industries because the steel and aluminum tariffs are in place and we actually saw employment increase in the downstream industries.”

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