The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly Employment Situation report for February this morning at the usual 8:30am eastern time. In contrast to the ADP report made public on Wednesday, the BLS figures were unambiguously strong.
The economy gained 295,000 new jobs during February, despite the unfavorable weather. All but 7,000 were in the private sector. Revisions of the prior two months subtracted 18,000 jobs from the advance–not a good sign, not a bad one either; the unemployment rate fell to 5.5%.
To me, the key development is that S&P 500 futures are down by more than seven points since the release. I interpret this as meaning that worries about the ES figures being weak are not a key driver of the stock market any more.
I think the current market lull is mostly a technical phenomenon. But today’s figures certainly make it easier for the Fed to begin the upward march of interest rates from the current emergency lows toward normal at mid-year rather than later. That idea probably also has some sort-term traders on edge.