NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Think of it like a kid's nursery rhyme: First come jobs, then come wages, then comes Janet with a...
Big Fat Ol' Interest Rate Hike? Not quite.
Friday's jobs report look pretty good, but not so good that the central bank has to raise interest rates any time soon. Employers added 209,000 new jobs in July, missing estimates of about 230,000, but an increase of 15,000 in estimated hiring for May and June wiped out nearly all of the miss. The unemployment rate rose a notch to 6.2%. The worst news was the nearly flat performance by wages, with average hourly earnings rising by only a penny to $24.45.
The report makes clear there is still enough slack in the job market to keep the Federal Reserve, led by Chair Janet Yellen, from accelerating its interest rate hikes. Yellen has made it plain she doesn't want to do that. And there is little enough inflation out there that she doesn't really have to.
It's true that the economy is picking up in earnest now.
July marks the sixth straight month of job gains of more than 200,000, the first time that has happened since 1997. Layoffs are at rock-bottom levels, with initial jobless claims at eight-year lows. When a company such as Microsoft (MSFT) does a big layoff, it's much bigger news than a few years ago.
The striking thing in recent jobs reports has been how broad-based job gains suddenly are. The June and July ADP reports showed gains in every industry group, and emerging data show a pickup in middle-wage industries such as construction, manufacturing and state and local government that have been slower to recover from the 2008 financial panic and its aftermath.