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June nonfarm payrolls report – Recap

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  • US nonfarm payrolls increased 222k in June. This was above estimates of 178k
  • April and May NFP numbers revised to show a net gain of 47k
  • US unemployment rate ticked higher to 4.4% from 4.3% previously
  • Average hourly earnings were up 0.2% on the month, and 2.5% on a year over year basis

June Payrolls beat estimates. Previous NFP revised higher

Last Friday’s nonfarm payrolls data that was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that the economy added 222,000 jobs during the month of June. There was more positive news as past revisions for the two months showed a combined net gain of +47k. Economists polled were expecting to see a headline NFP print of just 178k, which was clearly surpassed.

Driving the job gains, it was the private sector payrolls that increased 187k during the month. Previous revisions added +33k jobs in the sector. Healthcare and social assistance were the biggest contributors adding 59k jobs, while professional and business services followed up with 35k jobs.

U.S. Nonfarm payrolls, June 2017
U.S. Nonfarm payrolls, June 2017

Manufacturing jobs rose only 1000, while government jobs increased 35k during the reported month.

On an average basis, for May and June, the average pace of jobs was around 187k compared to the yearly average of 180k. The data suggests that jobs growth continues to remain consistent despite a few blips in the previous months.

Earlier in the week, private payrolls firm ADP and Moody’s released the private payrolls data. It was a soft print with the private sector seen adding just 158k jobs. This was below consensus estimates of 184k. May’s private payrolls were also revised lower to show 230k jobs against the initial report of 253k.

US Unemployment rate rises to 4.4%

The labor force participation rate also inched higher by just 0.1 point to 62.8%. It still remains low by historical standards however the 12-month average participation rate has been steadily rising. This suggests that more people are getting into the job market.

U.S. Unemployment Rate, June 2017
US Unemployment Rate, June 2017

The US unemployment rate rose to 4.4%, up from 4.3% from the previous month. This uptick in the unemployment rate was a result of more civilians entering the labor market. It is estimated that there was an increase of 361k into the labor force.

Average earnings steady at 2.5% y/y

Average wage growth was almost on the mark, rising 0.2% on a month over month basis while holding steady at 2.5% on a year over year basis. At 2.5%, wage growth continues to run ahead of inflation. This suggests that there is still enough room for consumer spending. Consumer spending is one of the key factors in driving the GDP growth in the US.

In the near term, inflation is expected to remain subdued.

Although concerns about inflation remain, the Fed had signaled its intentions of normalizing the balance sheet. More clarity could be expected this week when the Fed Chair, Janet Yellen will be giving her semi-annual testimony to the Congress.

The next interest rate hike, should the Fed proceed with balance sheet normalization in September could be coming in December as a result.

On late Friday, the Federal Reserve released the prepared remarks. However, the report did not contain anything new about the timing of the rate hikes or details about the balance sheet normalization.

However, there is a scope for Ms. Yellen to be questioned during the testimony, in which case, there is a chance for the Fed Chair to clarify on the Fed’s next policy move.

While the markets are currently expecting the next rate hike in December, a continued improvement in the US labor market could potentially bring ahead the rate hike from December to September.

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