An unexpectedly large rebound in US jobs growth in April did little to lift markets as uncertainty over interest rates dominated investor behaviour.
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 211,000 jobs were created in April, up from March's disappointing 79,000 and beating analysts' expectations of around 190,000.
Unemployment rate at 10-year low
The unemployment rate fell to 4.4%, its lowest level since 2007, falling from March's level of 4.5%. However, annualised wage growth was a little softer than expected, up just 2.5% after rising by 2.7% in March.
The data presented a mixed picture to interest rate watchers, with the positive of falling unemployment offset by the negatives of lower wage growth and a falling participation rate, which ticked down to 62.9% from 63%.
Mixed picture on growth
US economic growth in the first quarter was a disappointment – slowing to just 0.7% following a gain of 2.1% in the final quarter of 2016. However, survey data, such as the purchasing managers' index – or ISM (Institute for Supply Management) index as it is known in the US – paint a rosier picture.
"Wage growth remains stubbornly muted, and the participation rate so low – this is nagging away at the markets. The world's biggest economy is by no means flat, but neither is it firing," said Marcus Bullus at MB Capital.
The reaction of the markets indicated that expectations for a June interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve had been clouded.
The dollar fell against the euro and the pound, however, stocks on Wall Street opened a little higher.
"The Fed’s plan to keep cranking up interest rates this year is hawkish but not aggressively so. A June hike is far from a done deal following this jobs report but remains firmly on the table – so today’s slide in the dollar is likely to be short-lived," said David Lamb at FEXCO Corporate Payments.