PIMCO’s Gross: Jobs data shows U.S. workers are underpaid

Yahoo Finance

The latest read on the job market was released Friday morning, and while the U.S. added 209,000 new jobs in July, it missed analyst estimates of 233,000. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2% -- on its face a negative trend, as analysts expected the jobless rate to hold steady at 6.1% -- but the increase appears to be due to more people entering the labor force, which could be a good sign.

So what does it mean for the market and the economy, and how is the Federal Reserve thinking about it as the debate centers around how soon they will raise rates?

In the video above, Bill Gross, founder and managing director of bond behemoth PIMCO, says the headline numbers were basically good, but the real shock of today's report was wages, which showed essentially no improvement, according to the Labor Department. Gross says the markets were expecting wages to rise at a 2.2% annual rate while they came in unchanged at 2%.

Related: PIMCO’s Bill Gross names ‘the only safe haven’ in this market

He says wages are the important statistic now and going forward, and "that is where Main Street is suffering a little bit." Gross points out the latest read is in contrast to the Employment Cost Index that came out Thursday, which showed a "rapid expansion" in employment costs. It's "yin and yang, but today's report suggests the American worker not being compensated correctly."

Related: Fast-food workers win small battle against McDonald’s

In addition, the debate over when the Federal Reserve will raise rates has also centered around wages of late, with Thursday's ECI data stoking fears of inflation and a sooner-than-expected rate hike. While Gross expects the debate to be "ongoing and the key determinant going forward," he thinks the July jobs report puts the wage debate on hold.

Gross expects the Fed's first rate hike to come in June 2015, inline with consensus, but says the slope of the increase probably has been tempered by the lack of wage growth. In the video, he explains more about when he expects wages to pick up enough for the Fed to reach its inflation target. 

More from Yahoo Finance:
Macke: Don't get caught in the crowd as fear builds
Time to place long-term bets on rising short-term rates: Hoenig
Wall Street hammered, Dow closes down more than 300 points


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