People wait in line to enter a job fair in Uniondale, New York. Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
People wait in line to enter a job fair in Uniondale, New York. Photo: Reuters / Shannon Stapleton

The US economy added just 138,000 jobs in May, vs. a consensus estimate of 182,000, while revisions brought the previous two months down by an additional 66,000. Hourly earnings year-on-year came in at 2.5% vs. an expected 2.6%.

US stock futures gave up some early gains and the long US Treasury bond added 20/32nds, a muted market response given the discrepancy between expectations and the actual print.

US economic data have been all over the map. The ADP employment estimate on Wednesday was a blowout, showing a gain of 253,000 private sector jobs. The Labor Department’s private-sector jobs number was just half that, at 126,000.

Meanwhile the more volatile household survey conducted by the Labor Department, which is based on a telephone poll rather than reports from employers, shows a 233,000 drop in total employment, along with a 429,000 drop on the labor force (the number of Americans working or seeking work).

Three sets of numbers showing three quite different pictures of the US economy. Asia Unhedged thinks the truth is plain boring: the US economy continues to trundle along at a miserable 2% or less growth rate, waiting for the Trump Administration to shepherd Congress into a tax reform.