Afternoon Coffee: Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Level in 7 Years, West Coast Port Container Share Falls In July

The US added 173,000 jobs in August, lower than expected, but the unemployment rate improved, falling to 5.1% compared to the 5.3% in July. This is the lowest unemployment rate since early 2008.

The West Coast ports handled a smaller share of shipping containers in July compared to the previous month. Ports along the West Coast took in 46.8% of imports into the US during the month and 31.8% of exports, down from the 47.1% of imports and 33.2% of exports handled in June.

Shipping freight costs continue to increase for containers traveling from ports in Asia to Northern Europe. Container transportation costs rose 29% this week, marking the second consecutive week of increases.

Mexico is now the second largest exporter of vehicles to the US, and officials there are worrying about the potential negative impacts the Trans-Pacific Partnership could have on existing trade agreements with the US and Canada. Mexican officials believe the TPP could create more competition with the US market.

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