NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The January nonfarm payrolls report came in weaker than expected, yet U.S. equities are higher. The federal government reported 113,000 jobs were added in January, missing economists' expectations of 189,000. The unemployment rate fell to 6.6% from 6.7% one month ago.
Pension Partners' Chief Investment Strategist Michael Gayed told TheStreet's Joe Deaux it's good to see the participation rate rise to 63%, meaning more people are entering the work force.
He called the participation rate a "thorn" in the Federal Reserve's side because it has been trending lower for quite some time. No one anticipated people leaving the work force, he added.
His biggest concern is the continued weakness in the retail sector. If consumer demand is truly disappearing, investors will have to question if last year's 30% rally in the S&P 500 should correct to a more realistic level in order to reflect current economic conditions.
The jobs report, which was neither great or terrible, can be interpreted in different ways. Gayed says some will see it as bullish because the Fed will continue with quantitative easing. Others will interpret the report as bearish because the Fed's stimulus program hasn't caused the type of job demand everyone has expected, and it hasn't increased inflation levels to the Fed's targets, he concluded.
-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.