We certainly hope that the holiday weekend was relaxing and enjoyed by all. As we pointed out last week, the early release of the August employment data made this past weekend a Labor Day event in more ways than one. While many of us relaxed and enjoyed the last “unofficial” weekend of summer, market analysts were pouring over the data. How did we do?
The addition of 315,000 jobs in August was seen as another solid number, especially after the gain of over 500,000 jobs initially reported in July — a number that was revised slightly downward. The headline unemployment rate rose to 3.7%, which was also seen as a positive because more unemployed workers are reentering the workforce, increasing the labor participation rate. Wages continue to increase, but slightly below expectations.
This brings us to the next question. How will these numbers affect the Fed’s decision on rates when they meet as fall arrives in September? Inflation cooled a bit last month and some – but not all – economic reports have been indicating that the economy is slowing down. This had led to predictions that the September increase would be more modest, though the Fed continues to espouse a hardline approach in their pronouncements. There will be plenty of data released between now and then, including fresh inflation numbers – but the jobs report will certainly be an important factor.