One observation doesn’t make a trend and today’s below consensus payroll figure doesn’t change the fact that they’ve been growing at a solid pace recently. Non-farm payrolls grew 151K in January, a deceleration from the downwardly revised 262K in December (previously 292K)
Moreover, the other details contained in the report were more positive than expected. Average hours worked increased on the month to 34.6 hours from 34.5. Average earnings also came in ahead of expectations at 0.5% MoM, leaving the annual rate at 2.5%. Even though that’s down from an upwardly revised 2.7% in the prior month, there’s still a general uptrend in the figures since the middle of last year. Despite the slower than expected gain in payrolls, the unemployment rate edged down to 4.9%.
The data today appears to offer something for Fed doves and hawks alike. As a result, market reaction should be somewhat mixed. Separately, the trade data were broadly in line with expectations as the deficit widened by approximately $1 bn to $43.4 bn. That’s similar to the advanced goods trade report and, thus, shouldn’t see any significant revisions to Q4 GDP.
This article originally appeared at eFXnews.