By Isaac Cohen*
The creation of only 38,000 new non agricultural jobs in May was described as disappointing, compared to the monthly average of 230,000 jobs created during last year. The unemployment rate decreased to 4.7 percent in May, from 5 percent in April, due to a decline in the labor force, since 458, 000 persons ceased looking for a job.
However, the figures were received with a sigh of relief because they indicate that the US federal funds interest rate will not change, at the next meeting of the ce Disappointing ntral bank’s Federal Open Market Committee, in Washington on June 14-15.
One week before that meeting, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, in a speech at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, described the turbulence in world financial markets and the first quarter slowdown in the US economy, as the factors which led to the decision of keeping interest rates unchanged in January, March and April.
Now, recent employment figures, Chairwoman Yellen said, raise new questions about the economic outlook. Such as if the figures may be indicative of a persistent slowdown, or if the decrease of the unemployment rate in May indicates full employment has been reached.
Answers to some of these questions will have to wait until new data is available, before the following meeting of the Open Market Committee, scheduled for July 26-27.
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.