Here are some comments on Friday’s December U.S. jobs report, showing 148,000 positions created in the month and the unemployment rate holding at 4.1%.
Read more about the jobs report from MarketWatch. Economists had predicted an increase of 198,000 nonfarm jobs.
• Greg Daco of Oxford Economics called the headline number a disappointment — but said the 12-month trend is firm.
• Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, said “payrolls rose a bit less than expected, led by the retail sector, but the miss was not especially large given normal volatility and there is no sign in other data of the trend weakening; gains averaged 171K in 2017 as a whole, during which time the unemployment rate fell 0.6 pts.”
• Jim Baird, partner and chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors, also saw a positive bigger picture.
“While the report closes out 2017 with less of a bang than economists had hoped, the bottom line is that the economy remains on a steady growth path, supported by increasingly tight labor market conditions and inflation that appears poised to edge higher, but remains quite low,” Baird said.
• Stephen Pope, managing partner of the Spotlight Group, said the jobs data “was not as buoyant as had been expected” but added: “There is nothing here that would dispel our expectation of a 5% gain in 2018 for U.S. equities and an improvement closer to 7% would be a more likely scenario.”
• William Spriggs, the AFL-CIO’s chief economist, said the Federal Reserve should reconsider rate increases in light of the December number, and adjusted October and November numbers.