Total nonfarm payrolls increased by 175,000 in May according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number was in-line with estimates. The unemployment rate rose from 7.5% to 7.6%. Below the headlines, participation rate at 63.4%, an average work week of 34.5 hours, and average hourly earnings of $23.89 were all withing basis points of April's report.
"It probably solved nothing in terms of the Fed," says Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, in the attached video. "It certainly calms you down that we're not going to have another Spring swoon this year like we've had the last three years. All in all that's probably a good thing for the stock market."
Early trading on Friday supports the vaguely bullish nature of the data. As discussed yesterday there was a fairly thin window for this data. The unemployment rate ticked higher which took some pressure off the Fed, but the economy is going absolutely no where.
"In some ways it came in right as expected and pleased no one," Paulsen says. "Those who were hoping for better and those that were hoping for worse; no one got it."
The FOMC will eventually have to taper but it won't be because of what we saw this morning. Attention now turns to the Fed meeting on June 18th - 19th. June's meeting is followed by the Fed's updated Summary of Economic Projections and a Bernanke press conference.
As is the case whenever Bernanke appears in public, traders will be staring at his every twitch and gesture to try and divine the FOMC's tapering schedule. True to form Bernanke will almost certainly say the Fed is looking at the same data we are and will remain "accommodative."
That's the real problem with going no where as an economy; the view never changes.