Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that non-farm payrolls rose by 110,000 during September, primarily as a result of significant increases in service sector and government jobs.
Service sector jobs - such as in banks, insurance companies, restaurants, and retailers - added 143,000 workers during September (although retailers saw job losses of 5,000). In contrast, goods-producing industries lost 33,000 jobs, including 14,000 cuts in the construction and 18,000 cuts in the manufacturing sector.
Equity markets reacted favorably to today's jobs report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 115 points (as of 2:00 pm Eastern Time). The S&P 500 Index rallied 16 points.
At the risk of being called a permabear - someone who's unfailingly bearish on the market - I urge you not to get overly excited about the recent stock-market rally. Many pundits will point to today's "healthy" jobs report as an indication that the U.S. economy is still strong, yet most economic statistics clearly indicate that growth will slow considerably in the months ahead.
Though the employment situation improved somewhat during September, job growth has slowed significantly since the beginning of this year (see chart).
Today's supposedly "healthy" jobs report could give the Federal Reserve the ammunition it needs to keep short-term interest rates on hold at its next meeting on Oct. 31. Unfortunately, recent advances in stock prices were largely the result of investors' expectations that the Fed would continue lowering interest rates. I expect a halt to the equity price rally.
I urge you to be patient and to think twice before aggressively adding equities to your investment portfolio. My new ETF newsletter can help you prepare for what's coming next. My models indicate there's trouble ahead for equities. Click here to see the investing environment I envision for the next three to six months .
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