Royal Bank of Scotland customers use ATMs Friday at a London branch. Amid continued Brexit uncertainty, the bank reported a loss of more than 2 billion pounds for the first six months of 2016, blaming “legacy issues.” (Hannah McKay/European Pressphoto Agency)
U.S. trade deficit hits 10-month high

The U.S. trade deficit rose in June to the highest point in 10 months, driven by a jump in imports of oil and Chinese-made computers, cellphones and clothing.

The deficit rose to $44.5 billion in June, 8.7 percent higher than a revised May deficit of $41 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It was the biggest gap between what America sells abroad and what the country imports since a $44.6 billion deficit last August.

Exports, which have struggled this year with the strong dollar and global weakness, edged up 0.3 percent to $183.2 billion. Imports rose 1.9 percent to $227.7 billion, led by a 19.4 percent jump in petroleum imports.

The politically sensitive deficit with China increased to $29.8 billion, a jump of 2.5 percent, the widest gap in seven months.

A wider U.S. trade deficit acts as a drag on growth because it means the nation is earning less on overseas sales of U.S. exports while spending more on imports.

Through the first six months of this year, the deficit is 2.3 percent below the same period in 2015, when it rose to $250.5 billion. The lower deficit reflects the fact that while U.S. exports are down, the value of imports is down by a larger amount, reflecting the drop in oil prices.

— Associated Press

Women benefited most from July hiring

Women overwhelmingly found work in July, even as the nation’s unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent.

The jobless level for adult women fell to 4.3 percent from 4.9 percent a year ago, the Labor Department reported Friday morning. Unemployment for women ages 35 to 44 dropped a full point over the past 12 months to 3.5 percent. The rate also fell solidly for women between ages 25 and 34.

The overall unemployment rate stayed the same because more than 400,000 people joined those looking for work in July.

Not all groups benefited last month. The jobless rate increased last month for adult men, Asians and people older than 55. But summer jobs meant that the unemployment rate dipped for teenagers, and fewer African Americans were unemployed.

— Associated Press

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— From news services