Investors won't be jumping out of the trenches to celebrate a victory any time soon, but the latest job report should inspire some confidence, says Mark Luschini, the chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
Although the 163,000 jobs added represents a fairly lackluster number, it was overall still positive and that makes all the difference as the economy continues to sputter out of the recession. First, Luschini says, "we didn't see deterioration in job creation, which is good. And, two, you see a number that is higher than what we've seen over the trailing three months. While that's not a fantastic number, at face value it at least suggests that what level of economic momentum we have at the moment is at least reinforced by job creation."
According to Luschini, the 163,000 is just sufficient to keep the economy on track for growth. By his estimation, job growth would have to be around 100,000 to 125,000 to be able to keep the employment levels steady given the number of people entering the work force for the first time.
"That allows you to look forward and think that our economy ought to be able to post positive growth, even if lackluster given today's numbers," Luschini says.
While the unemployment rate did rise by a tenth of a percentage point to 8.3% from 8.2%, Luschini believes that is only natural, as that percentage is bound to rise with initial job growth as more people renew their search for work.
Moreover, Luschini referred to the 163,000 as a "Goldilocks" number because it did not rule out the possibility of a third round of quantitative easing [QE3] and yet still inspired confidence in companies' growth.
"It probably isn't going to change opinions dramatically relative to what is a heightened probability that we have some announcement other than 'Status Quo' coming in September," Luschini says. "In and of itself, it isn't healthy, but the market is being propped up on the notion that the Fed is prepared to do more to continue to foster an environment of growth and obviously more liquidity in the markets provides more opportunity for risk assets to inflate," Luschini says.
In addition, investors could see growth in the equities market as the positive news boosts confidence. However, while Luschini warns against letting one data point make or break an investment posture, the jobs number could be an opportunity for advisors to discuss positive possibilities with their clients. "It does mean that companies are hiring and companies should continue to post positive results," he says. "It is a reason to remain confident that investment portfolios in something other than cash ought to be able to deliver investment results that exceed near term opportunities or hopefully jar individuals from the sidelines waiting for a better opportunity," he adds. "You can't have both good news and cheap stocks."
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