US adds solid 224000 jobs, making Fed rate cut less certain

Monday, 08 Jul, 2019

"Today's jobs report shows the USA economy continues to create jobs at a strong pace even as we enter the longest period of economic expansion on record", said Tony Bedikian, managing director and head of global markets at Citizens Bank in an email.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent in June from 3.6 percent for the previous two months, reflecting an influx of people seeking jobs who were initially counted as unemployed. In April, the unemployment rate hit a 49-year low at 3.6%.

It ended in the red as well, along with the Nasdaq and S&P 500.

Those anticipations led the Dow and Nasdaq to record highs on Wednesday. Discussing the figures with the BBC, Luke Bartholomew, who is an investment strategist at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: "Employment growth remains a bright spot amid a fairly mixed bag of USA data and yet markets have come to expect a cut now so will fall out of bed if they don't get one". In total, the economy has added more than 6 million jobs since President Donald J. Trump was elected. That kept the annual increase in wages at 3.1% in June for a second straight month.

The June jobs report will likely do little to change the Fed's existing thesis that a tightening labor market is not applying pressure on inflation, as some economists would have otherwise expected.

The one still-disappointing number: Average hourly earnings, which rose 3.1% from a year earlier, slightly lower than forecast.

Health care and business services also saw strong job gains in June, and the government added 33,000 jobs - some of which may be tied to the upcoming census. "The bounce back in the June jobs number may splash cold water on the notion of an imminent Fed rate cut".

On Friday, the Fed reiterated that it would act as necessary sustain the economic expansion, while noting that most Fed officials have lowered their expectations for the course of rates.

"Net, net, the great American jobs machine restarts its engines after the cautious hiring seen a month ago caused by the escalation in the trade war and rocky financial markets", Mitsubishi UFJ's Chris Rupkey wrote Friday morning.

The slower pace of hiring is consistent with easing economic growth as the effect of tax cuts fade and global worries increase.

Markets had been closely watching the BLS's report since it is the only round of jobs numbers that the Fed will receive ahead of the July 31 meeting. This helped mask some of the weakness elsewhere on the service side of the economy, including the fifth consecutive monthly decline in retail employment. That suggests that the unemployment rate will remain near its five-decade low and that the economy will keep growing, even if only modestly.