The solid jobs growth in July gives the Federal Reserve little reason not to raise interest rates next month, market watchers said Friday.
Closely followed stock analyst Jim Paulsen told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” the numbers keep September in play for Fed liftoff. But he stressed the path for rates in the medium and long term is more important than the exact timing of the first hike in nine years.
Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, said he’s leaning toward a scenario in which “the market starts to think the Fed is behind the curve.”
“If we start to get evidence of significant cost push and pressures as we near full employment, then the start of this process will be more damaging for the stock market,” he added.
Paulsen spoke after the Labor Department reported that the economy created 215,000 nonfarm jobs last month, basically matching forecasts of 215,000 to 223,000. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.3 percent and average hourly earnings increased 0.2 percent; both matching forecasts.