U.S. employers slowed their pace of hiring in July but the jobless rate fell anyway, mixed signals that could make the U.S. Federal Reserve more cautious about drawing down its huge economic stimulus program.
The number of jobs outside the farming sector increased by 162,000, the Labor Department said on Friday.
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That was below the median forecast in a Reuters poll of 184,000. Compounding that miss, the government also cut its previous estimates for hiring in May and June.
U.S. June personal income rose 0.3 percent
ADAM SARHAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SARHAN CAPITAL IN NEW YORK:
"The market is yawning at the news. At this stage of the game, in some perverse way, weak news is bullish for the market because it gives the Fed no choice but to continue printing money. If it had been way stronger, that would also have been bullish because it means the economy is growing. The bulls are in a win-win situation."
GORDON CHARLOP, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ROSENBLATT SECURITIES, NEW YORK:
"The idea that the unemployment dropped at all, went below 7.6, is showing that the trend is going the right way. We're sort of grinding along here. We're not surging.
"I don't think there's anything here that will cause the Fed to do anything significant, so from a trading standpoint I think the numbers are more or less benign."
TODD SCHOENBERGER, MANAGING PARTNER AT LANDCOLT CAPITAL IN NEW YORK:
"Similar to the reaction following Wednesday's weak GDP report, today's jobs data is terrifying for Main Street. Despite the proactive actions from the Fed and stimulus help from Capitol Hill, the labor market remains stuck in quicksand.
"For Wall Street, however, this is terrific news as tepid growth in jobs means the Fed will continue with QE and delay tapering its current bond buying program."
JOSEPH TREVISANI, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, WORLDWIDEMARKETS, WOODCLIFF LAKE, NEW JERSEY:
"This disappointing payroll number will undo some of the positive market momentum on the economy and the dollar from yesterday's strong ISM and jobless claims reports and justify the Fed's caution on quantitative easing.
"Still, with good or improving economic statistics outnumbering poor over the past several weeks it is likely that better numbers will return in August or that the July result will gain upon revision."
(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)