WASHINGTON — Win Cramer had big plans to hire several new employees this summer for his company, including a chief operating officer, but he took the job listings down after President Donald Trump tweeted that more tariffs would hit Chinese goods in September.
Trump’s escalating trade war has made business executives more cautious. There’s already been a noticeable decline in business investment as corporate leaders say Trump’s tariffs and unpredictability are creating too much uncertainty, dissuading them from spending large sums on new buildings or equipment. Now there are early signs that business leaders are beginning to pull back on hiring, too.
“It’s the most frustrating time I’ve ever had running a business, and I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” said Cramer, chief executive of JLab Audio, which makes wireless ear buds and headphones that are sold at Best Buy, Target and elsewhere.
The United States had 7.3 million job openings in June, down from a peak of 7.6 million in November, according to the latest Labor Department data.
While the decline is modest, economists are concerned hiring could dry up quickly as companies see no end in sight to Trump’s trade war and they look to cut costs.