July Payrolls Rise 215K, Less Than Expected; Annual Earnings Growth Miss, Unemployment Remains At 5.3%

In a somewhat antticlimatic report, moments ago the BLS reported that July nonfarm payrolls came in at 215K, modestly below the expected 225K and down from the upward revised June print of 231K, and down from the 260K in May, with the unemployment rate flat at 5.3%, in line with expectations.

Overall, a number that was bad, but not bad enough to deter the Fed from hiking, if that is indeed what it plans on doing.


But while the headline jobs number was disappointing - if not enough to deter a rate hike - the one number that remains solidly in rate statis territory was the average hourly earnings growth: while AHE rose by 0.2% in July as expected, the annual increase of 2.1% was nothing to write home about, and 0.2% below the 2.3% expected, which may be the only reason the Fed would delay a rate hike following the endless jawboning of the past year.

Some more details from the report:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 215,000 in July, compared with an average monthly gain of 246,000 over the prior 12 months. In July, job gains occurred in retail trade, health care, professional and technical services, and financial activities.


Employment in retail trade increased by 36,000 in July and has risen by 322,000 over the year. In July, motor vehicle and parts dealers added 13,000 jobs, and employment continued to trend up in general merchandise stores (+6,000).


Health care added 28,000 jobs in July and has added 436,000 jobs over the year. In July, employment rose in hospitals (+16,000).


Professional and technical services added 27,000 jobs in July, with gains in computer systems design and related services (+9,000) and architectural and engineering services (+6,000). Over the past 12 months, professional and technical services has added 301,000 jobs. Management of companies and enterprises added 14,000 jobs over the month.


Employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 in July and has risen by 156,000 over the past 12 months. Insurance carriers and related activities accounted for more than half of the gain in July (+10,000) and over the year (+85,000).


In July, manufacturing employment edged up (+15,000).  Employment in nondurable goods rose by 23,000 over the month, including gains in food manufacturing (+9,000) and in plastics and rubber products (+6,000).


Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in July (+29,000) and has increased by 376,000 over the year.


Employment in transportation and warehousing also continued to trend up in July (+14,000) and has risen by 146,000 over the year. Employment in couriers and messengers rose by 3,000 over the month.


Mining employment continued to trend down in July (-5,000). Since a recent high in December 2014, employment in the industry has declined by 78,000, with losses concentrated in support activities for mining.


Employment in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, information, and government, showed little change over the month.

Overall a report that was bad, but not bad enough, and as a result it is bad for stocks if only according to the initial kneejerk reaction.