The most closely watched economic metric of the month was issued earlier this morning when the U.S. Labor Department reported that the nation had added 195,000 new jobs in June. That increase compared nicely with the expectation of a gain of 165,000 positions for the latest month.
Importantly, there were upward revisions for both April and May, with the April gain in non-farm payrolls lifted dramatically from a previously estimated gain of 149,000 jobs to one of 199,000 for that month. In May, the estimated gain was revised from 175,000 to 195,000. Such solid growth enabled the nation to add an average of 182,000 positions a month over the past year.
At the same time, in a separate household survey, Labor reported that the unemployment rate had held steady last month at 7.6%. Expectations here had been for a reduction in the jobless rate to 7.5%. The unemployment rate had been that low in April.
As to other components of the report, the average workweek in the manufacturing sector, a key industrial indicator, edged up from 40.8 hours in May to 40.9 hours last month. The average had been 40.7 hours in April. Also, hourly earnings in the manufacturing sector rose from $23.91 in May to $24.01 in June.
Taken as a whole, this was a solid report, and while it should not lead to a step-up in the timetable for the Federal Reserve to lessen its monetary stimulus, or bond-buying program, it likely ensures that the lead bank will go forward with its plans to reduce bond-buying by the end of this year and end the program by mid-2014. The tradeoff, being a better economy, should help Wall Street to cope reasonably well with the expectations of a less aggressively accommodative monetary course.At the time of this article's writing the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.