US payroll growth underwhelms

Non-farm payrolls increased by 157,000 for the month of July, which is significantly lower than the revised figure of 248,000 for June, and below analysts’ expectations of 190,000. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate edged lower to 3.9 per cent, versus 4 per cent for the previous month. The market did not seem to take the news as a signal that the Federal Reserve would be likely to alter their monetary policy plans for the remainder of the year, rather, if reinforced a picture of steady labour market growth in line with their outlook for gradual interest rate rises. The overall picture was positive, which helped the S&P 500 index hold on to its gains made over the course of the day. Meanwhile, investors were buying US government debt and selling the US dollar amid fresh tariff threats from China.