The economy added 943k jobs last month, which is the largest gain since last August. The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.4% vs. an expected 5.7%. Readings like these will ignite the tapering conversations once again as it indicates a step closer to Powell’s full employment wishes. We’re obviously not quite where he’d like yet, but it is hard to suggest that things aren’t progressing.
As the delta variant continues to make news, it will be interesting to see how things take shape. Mask mandates (even for vaccinated individuals) seem to be coming back, many corporations, businesses, etc. are mandating vaccinations, and lockdowns could be back on the table. The workforce is much better prepared for work from home than we were back in early 2020, so I doubt such actions will have as dramatic an effect on the markets as they did then. However, they could certainly call into question whether the “reopening” remains “open.”
Stocks are mixed following the report. The S&P and Dow managed to print new all-time highs and are up on the day, while the Nasdaq fell a bit shy and is down about 1/3 of a percent. The Russell is trading in positive territory, but has a ways to go before printing new highs.