US adds 215,000 jobs in July, unemployment rate unchanged at 5.3%

The July jobs report came in right in line with expectations.

The US economy added 215,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3%.

Wages also grew modestly in July, rising 0.2% over the prior month and 2.1% over the prior year.

June’s payrolls gains were also revised up to 231,000 from an initial estimate of 223,000. Payroll gains have averaged 246,000 over the past year and 235,000 over the past three months.

The broader “U-6” measure of unemployment, which also counts those who are underemployed or want full-time work but can’t find any, fell 0.1% to 10.4%.

The length of the average workweek grew by 0.1 hours to 34.6.

Ahead of the report, here’s what Wall Street was looking for:

  • Nonfarm payrolls: +225,000
  • Unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • Average hourly earnings, month-over-month: +0.2%
  • Average hourly earnings, year-over-year: +2.3%
  • Average weekly hours worked: 34.5

The big implications of Friday’s report is that another month of job gains over 200,000 could further convince markets that the Fed is ready to raise interest rates — it could do so as soon as September.

Ahead of the report, Peter Tchir at Brean Capital said the bar for convincing the market that rate hikes would come in September “seems low.” And in notes earlier this week, Citi’s Steve Englander said payroll gains over 200,000 could be enough to get the Fed moving next month.

And so it seems as if the report at least met this criteria.

After the report, stock futures were lower and short-term bond yields were rising while longer-term US Treasury yields were little changed.

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