The Labor Department Friday released its latest jobs report, counting a solid if unexciting 156,000 nonfarm jobs created in December, putting the unemployment rate at a “little changed” 4.7% from the 4.6% jobless rate in November and the 7.5 million unemployed people in the country. Beyond those headline numbers, the bigger news might be the definitely healthy 2.9% growth in wages since December 2015.
Commenting on the report on Bloomberg radio and TV right after its release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, Bill Gross, who manages the Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund, called the 156,000 new jobs “a decent number” that “suggests GDP is moving along” at a 2% growth rate, though he argued that for “a really healthy economy, you need 3% real growth and 5% nominal growth.” He did point out that “U6 is relatively high,” referring to the 9.2% of the workforce that is unemployed, underemployed and discouraged, and which Gross said needs to be further reduced to signal a healthier economy (U6 was at 9.9% in December 2015.)
He also gave President Barack Obama a backhanded compliment on employment during his term in office, saying Obama has “done a fine job from where he started.”
Then Gross, in response to a question on President-elect Donald Trump’s economic policies, said that Trump’s penchant for “cajoling companies to move production back into the United States” reminded him of another leader’s policies from the past.