Aug 2 - Friday's jobs report was weak on the surface, but a mix of information in the report left many scratching their heads to make sense of the data. Havovi Cooper reports.
The market was looking for answers from the July jobs report but didn't really get them. The headline data was disappointing and the jobs picture still remains murky. Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management: SOUNDBITE: BOB DOLL, CHIEF EQUITY STRATEGIST, NUVEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We sort of have a environment where job growth is good but not great. It's sorta like the whole economy.The reason it's good news for the stock market is we don't have to answer the questions, when is the Fed going to stop, when is inflation coming back, when is the end of the business cycle. Mediocre growth is a great backdrop for the stock market." Doll's got that right-- The S&P's up nearly 20 percent this year. Here's how the data breaks down:- 162,000 new jobs were created in July- its a drop from June- and economists had hoped for more. On the flip side the unemployment rate fell to a 4 year low- so in theory fewer people are out there looking for jobs. But the slide in the unemployment rate has little to do with actual jobs growth says Macquarie Capital Markets Strategist David Doyle SOUNDBITE: DAVID DOYLE, NORTH AMERICA ECONOMIST, MACQUARIE CAPITAL MARKETS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's really been driven by a decline in the participation rate, so there's really just less people out looking for work and when that occurs it shows a smaller labor force or a lower pace of labor force growth and that dynamic means that the economy needs fewer jobs to lower the unemployment rate." Here's where the jobs were: Lots of service jobs- that mainly meant retail. But manufacturing and construction workers were out of luck - zero net gains there last month. That's a source of concern because it means the broader economy isn't growing as fast as expected. St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard is looking for a very ambitious 2.6 percent growth this year. SOUNDBITE: JAMES BULLARD, PRESIDENT, ST. LOUIS FEDERAL RESERVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I've been optimistic about the U.S. economy and I've kept projecting that growth is just around the corner and obviously over the last three quarters, growth has just averaged above 1 percent, so we really need to see some indication that growth is really going to pick up here in the second half before we can be really confident." Experts say the next 6 months could be better, with the impact of tax hikes and sequestration slowly wearing off.