What's going on?
A key report which helps track the health of US employment levels was released on Friday – and it said 213,000 jobs were added in June, which is more than investors expected. Let’s get to work…
What does this mean?
The increase in jobs was led by professional business services, manufacturing and construction companies as the outlook for those sectors continues to look rosy (due to government emphasis on local manufacturing). Retail jobs, on the other hand, dropped by 22,000 – highlighting the ongoing struggles faced by traditional brick and mortar stores.
Although the jobs report was better than expected, the buzz was killed a little by slower-than-expected wage growth and unemployment rising to 4%. This may seem counterintuitive considering the increase in jobs overall, but it was due to just over half a million people coming off the bench and declaring themselves fit, and looking, for work.
Why should I care?
For markets: The US economy still looks bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
The latest jobs report makes it looks like US economic growth is going to remain strong in the near term. More jobs continue to be added and, with wages rising too, people will be buying more stuff – which is good for the economy. But, to make sure that the increase in prices of goods that typically follows (a.k.a. inflation) doesn’t get too ahead of itself, and that economic growth is sustainable, interest rates hikes remain likely for the rest of the year.
The bigger picture: A healthy economy could be at risk from trade wars.
US government spending on things like infrastructure to boost the economy is certainly working – which is helpful in offsetting potential negatives from its trade war with China. But investors will likely watch future reports closely as job losses in industries like manufacturing or autos could indicate that trade war import taxes (a.k.a. tariffs) are affecting the US economy.