U.S. employment increased more than expected in April as private companies created jobs at the fast pace in five years, pointing to underlying strength in the economy, even though the jobless rate rose to 9.0 percent.
MICHAEL SHAOUL, CHAIRMAN OF MARKETFIELD ASSET MANAGEMENT, WHICH OVERSEES $973 MILLION FROM NEW YORK
It's a pretty good number, but we've always made the point that this is volatile. To us it looks like a good recovery taking place in payrolls, and it goes against the worries that came about with the jobless claims yesterday. We think employment is recovering strongly and will continue to do so throughout 2011.
GARY THAYER, CHIEF MACRO STRATEGIST, WELLS FARGO ADVISORS, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
It looks like a good report if you don't look at unemployment. Job creation is good. We're getting close to the point where we are seeing sustainable job growth. That creates income that generates spending and, hopefully, more jobs. We still have a lot of people unemployed. That holds things back. The stock market likes the numbers, but the report also moves us maybe a step closer to the Fed pulling back on stimulus. That doesn't mean a rate hike right away. We might see the Fed let its balance sheet contract a bit in the second half of the year, but we probably won't see an actual rate hike until early 2012.
DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS
In looking at the reason for the surprise a 57k increase in retail stands out, and there must be suspicions that a late Easter inflated this figure. Still, with auto and chain store data having been healthy in April the rise may not be fully distorted, and even if it were the payroll excluding retail implies a respectable pace of growth persists. There was a disappointment in a rise in unemployment to 9.0 percent from 8.8 percent, a correction from recent declines that appeared to outperform the economy, but a 0.2 percent rise in average hourly earnings, 0.3 percent net of revisions, means that the unemployment rate is the only notable weak spot of a generally positive report.
STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures extend gains.
BONDS: U.S. bond prices extend losses.
FOREX: The dollar extends gains versus euro and yen.