The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com were looking for 181,000 net new jobs in the month. Government statisticians revised the June jobs report up to 231.000 new jobs from 222,000.
The official unemployment rate fell to 4.3% from 4.4% in June. The average hourly workweek remained at 34.5 hours. Average hourly earnings ticked up by 0.3% from 0.2% in June.
The strength in the jobs report wasn’t enough to change the financial markets call on an interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve at its September 20 meeting. Today the odds, according to prices in the Fed Funds Futures market, were just 1.4% in favor of an interest rate increase at that meeting. Yesterday the market was pricing in a 5.5% chance of an increase. A month ago the odds were at 18%.
The odds that the Fed would hold rates steady at its December 13 meeting did fall below 50% today. Barely. With the markets giving the odds of no move at 49.6%. Yesterday the odds of no action on interest rates stood at 53.2%. A month ago the consensus was that the Fed would raise rates at its December meeting with just a 37.8% chance that the central bank would hold rates steady.