May Unemployment and Payrolls Bring Choppy Seas, but Not All Bad


The U.S. Labor Department has released its unemployment and payrolls reading for the month of May. The data looks mixed on the surface. The bad news is that the official unemployment rate ticked up by 0.1% to 7.6% in May, and non-farm payrolls grew by 175,000. Bloomberg had estimates of 7.5% unemployment and 167,000 in total non-farm payrolls. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data showed that 178,000 private sector payrolls were added in May, and that was exactly on the button of the 178,000 projected by Bloomberg.

Today's report from the BLS actually may come with some relief, despite the uptick in the official unemployment rate. The ADP and TrimTabs payrolls projections had been weak enough that there was a growing bias for a weaker-than-expected payrolls report. So on an unofficial basis, these payrolls reports from the BLS may have been a tad better than what some were expecting.

The prior payrolls reports were revised slightly lower by 12,000 jobs. Now think of the good news. This is a situation where the news is decent but nowhere near good enough to force Ben Bernanke and the dovish FOMC into a corner to start tapering the $85 billion worth of monthly bond purchases.

Stocks ticked up on the news so far. S&P 500 futures are up almost six points and DJIA futures are up about 60 points.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy, Labor Tagged: featured