The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that July Non-farm as employers added 215,000 workers, just a touch below the 229K expected. The Unemployment Rate remained at 5.3%, and the Labor Force Participation Rate was also unchanged at 62.6%. Hourly earnings were inline at 0.2%. This was about inline a report as you could get and as a result, Bonds are are near unchanged, while Stocks are modestly lower. Despite the “normal” headline numbers, the BLS reports that a record 93,7770,000 people (16 or older) were neither employed in July nor had made specific efforts to find work. I think that half of them called me last month to apply for a mortgage (I don’t know how many times I had to say “No, you can’t count student loans as income; that’s additional debt” to would-be homeowners).
The big question now is whether or not the numbers justify a September interest rate hike. We still have a lot of data to review prior to the September Fed meeting. I am still leaning toward a December rate hike, but I wouldn’t bet on it.