Does the Jobs Report Guarantee Tapering in September? - Ahead of Wall Street

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Friday, July 5, 2013

This morning's strong jobs report reconfirms that the labor market is steadily improving, which means that the Fed could afford to take its foot off the QE paddle later this fall. The bond market seems to be responding to the changed 'taper' outlook by pushing yields higher, though the stock market doesn't seem to be overly concerned, at least at this stage. Part of the stock market momentum this morning is likely a response to comments from Mario Draghi, who vowed on Thursday to maintain the ECB's easy-money policy for an extended period and not to follow what the U.S. may or may not do in the coming months.

But irrespective of the market's reaction, there are no two opinions about this morning's jobs report. It is an all-around positive report, with not only the 'headline' number coming in better than expected, but prior month's numbers revised higher and the hourly earnings data coming in very strong.

June non-farm payrolls came in at +195K vs. expectations of about +160K and May's +195K level (revised higher from 175K). The consensus estimate did not rise much following the better than expected report from ADP on Wednesday. The jobs report has been of intense focus for investors in recent days given the market's ongoing focus on the Fed's QE program.

The revisions trend was positive, with May revised to 195K (vs. +175K originally) and April's raised to +199K (vs. +149K), for a net increase of +70K for both months. The unemployment rate at 7.6% and the average workweek at 34.5 hours remained unchanged. Surprisingly, average hourly earnings increased +0.4% in June vs. up +0.1% in May. The labor force participation rate ticked up to 63.5% from 63.4% in May.

Private sector jobs totaled 202K in June, modestly down from upwardly revised 207K in May, but up from the upwardly revised 188K in April; the government sector lost -7K jobs in June vs. - 12K in May. The private sector gains were concentrated in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, healthcare, and financial services.

Leisure and hospitality added 75K jobs in June, up from the year-to-date monthly run rate of 55K which is roughly double the pace of 2012. Professional and business services added 53K jobs in the month, bringing the industry's 12-month tally to 624K (Temporary jobs were up +9.5K in June vs. +23.6K in May). Construction jobs were up +13K in June after increasing 7K in May, while manufacturing as a whole lost -6K jobs in June after losing -7K the month before.

This report effectively guarantees that the Fed will move towards 'tapering' its QE program at the September meeting. The early reaction from the stock market doesn't seem to be negative, but that could very well be a response to the announcement from Mario Draghi on Thursday, where he committed to keep loose monetary policy for an extended period. The bond market's initial reaction appears more on the mark and reflective of greater odds for Fed 'tapering' later this fall.

Sheraz Mian

Director of Research

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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