Oct. 28 (UPI) -- A gauge that measures hiring at U.S. companies has fallen to its lowest level in seven years, a business survey said Monday.
The National Association for Business Economics report said the U.S. economy is slowing and most experts it questioned for the survey said the pace should continue into next year. Two-thirds of manufacturing experts said President Donald Trump's tariffs have had a negative impact on their business.
Hiring slowed in the third quarter, as did wage and salary growth, the report said. Just 20 percent of businesses said hiring has increased this month -- down from 34 percent who answered that way in July and the lowest level since October 2012.
"Many of the survey indicators in this report are at their lowest levels in several years," said NABE President Constance Hunter. "It is important to note, however, that all respondents still expect the current economic expansion to continue over the next 12 months."
Most businesses questioned for the survey said sales and profit margins have narrowed.
"Materials costs rose, on balance, at respondents' firms, marking a 14th consecutive quarter of higher costs," said NABE Business Conditions Survey Chair Sam Kyei. "However, price increases were only slightly more common than price cuts at respondents' firms."
Fifty-three percent of the businesses said they don't expect wages or salaries to change in the fourth quarter.