The U.S. economy added 121,000 nonfarm jobs in June, about 80,000 fewer than expected, while the unemployment rate held steady at 4.6%, the Labor Department said Friday. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.5% in the month, slightly faster than forecast. The numbers are a mixed bag for stock investors, who are primarily concerned that the Federal Reserve will interpret strong economic data as reason for more interest rate hikes. In Friday's report, the salubrious impact of the relatively small gain in nonfarm payrolls is likely to be canceled out by evidence of wage inflation. Compared with June 2005, average wages rose 3.9% -- the fastest year-over-year gain since mid-2001. Among sectors, manufacturing companies added 15,000 jobs lat month, while retailers cut 6,600. The biggest contributors to the 121,000-job gains were business and professional services, which added 25,000 jobs, and education and health services, which added 26,000 jobs. The Labor Department revised the number of new jobs previously reported in April and May, but the changes were essentially offsetting. In carrying out its 17th consecutive interest rate hike last week, the Fed repeated that future policy will be closely tied to economic data such as the employment report. The Ben Bernanke-led central bank has shown resolve so far in making price stability its top priority. "Readings on core inflation have been elevated in recent months," the FOMC wrote June 29. "Ongoing productivity gains have held down the rise in unit labor costs, and inflation expectations remain contained. However, the high levels of resource utilization and of the prices of energy and other commodities have the potential to sustain inflation pressures." To view Farnoosh Torabi's video take on today's jobs report, click here .