The July Employment report came in with an upside surprise—255,000 jobs created during the month, which was well above expectations of 179,000. Making the jobs picture even rosier was the upward revision for June, to 292,000 from 287,000.
Strength in the labor market for June and July has helped bring people back into the workforce, which kept the unemployment rate steady. Average hourly earnings bumped higher by 0.3%, a number supportive for consumer spending.
As we have said previously, we expect the Fed to raise rates one more time—perhaps as early as September. And, as we have also said, given the fact that rates are essentially zero, a small upward move will be of little real consequence, in our opinion.
That said, even a 25 basis point hike by the Fed, would be a vote of confidence for the U.S. economy. The Astor Economic Index®, our real-time snapshot of the U.S. economy, continues to show steady growth.
In the U.S., it’s all been about jobs. And just to put things in context, keep in mind that this is a presidential election year. No political commentary here, just stating the obvious.
The highlights of the July jobs report showed strength in the private sector, which added 217,000 jobs. The public sector added 38,000 jobs; while not a big number, this does add a little push to the tailwind for the job sector right now.
Other highlights from the Employment Report:
- The unemployment rate stayed at 4.9%
- The labor force participation rate rose slightly to 62.8% from 62.7%
- Overly the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6%. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 8 cents to $25.69.
- The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +11,000 to +24,000. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 190,000 per month.
- Sectors adding jobs are professional and business services, health care, financial, and leisure/hospitality.
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“The Astor Economic Index® is a proprietary index created by Astor Investment Management LLC. It represents an aggregation of various economic data points: including output and employment indicators. The Astor Economic Index® is designed to track the varying levels of growth within the U.S. economy by analyzing current trends against historical data. The Astor Economic Index® is not an investable product. When investing, there are multiple factors to consider. The Astor Economic Index® should not be used as the sole determining factor for your investment decisions. The Index is based on retroactive data points and may be subject to hindsight bias. There is no guarantee the Index will produce the same results in the future. The Astor Economic Index® is a tool created and used by Astor. All conclusions are those of Astor and are subject to change.” 308161-466