Usually when people hear the word storm used, it means that catastrophe has struck. That just isn’t always the case when it comes to the financial markets. The U.S. Labor Department has released its Employment Situation report for the month of April, and it looks like this could be the perfect storm for investors — where stocks, bonds, economists, investors and even the Federal Reserve all can exist in the same tempest in perfect harmony.
Nonfarm payrolls grew by 223,000 in April. Bloomberg had a consensus estimate of 220,000 and Dow Jones had a consensus of 228,000. Private sector payrolls grew by 213,000. Bloomberg was calling for 223,000. Another issue to consider here was that the already weak March report was revised even lower — from 126,000 to 85,000 in nonfarm payrolls.
Another added benefit was seen as the official unemployment rate fell to 5.4% in April from 5.5% in March. The workforce participation rate came in at 62.8% in April, versus a prior 62.7% as well, and hourly earnings rose by 0.1% from the 0.2% prior report that was revised lower from 0.3%. The average workweek also came in flat at 34.5 hours.
All in all, this is a report where everything seems to live in harmony, despite all the potential market turmoil the press keeps filling our heads with. The stock market and bond market get to find an equilibrium where the economy shows growth, but not too much growth to tempt the Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve to hit the panic-button on raising fed funds too fast or too high.
Stocks were already higher ahead of the report, but now S&P 500 futures were up 18 points and DJIA futures were up just over 150 point on last look. The 10-year Treasury yield is down to 2.15%, after almost hitting 2.25% at one point on Thursday. Even gold is hanging in there with a gain of about $2.50 at $1186.70 or so in early Friday trading.
Sometimes being in a perfect storm is rather harmonious.