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Gold prices holding steady after the U.S. economy created 225K jobs in January

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - Gold prices are holding relatively steady as the U.S. economy once again created more jobs than expected, according to the latest data from the according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The employment numbers show that the U.S. labor market continues to be the bright spot in the U.S. economy, according to economists.

"Markets were expecting a strong payrolls print for January and the US labor market delivered it. The 225K jobs created is above the average pace of employment growth seen over the past six months," said Katherine Judge, senior economist at CIBC.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 225,000 in January, the report said. The monthly figure came in well above market consensus projecting 163,000 new positions.
The U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly higher to 3.6%, December's 50-year low. Economists were expecting to see an unchanged reading at 3.5%

Gold prices have jumped around in initial reaction to the latest employment data, but overall are relatively unchanged on the day. April gold futures last traded at $1,568.50 an ounce, down 0.10% on the day.

According to some market analysts, although the headline data was better than expected, the gold market appears to reacting to weak wage numbers. The report said that average hourly earnings increased seven cents or 0.2% in January; however, economists were expecting to see a 0.3% increase.

For the year, the report said that wages have risen 3.1%.

Along with the stronger-than-expected headline number, November and December employment data were revised higher. December’s employment data were revised to 147,000 from the previous estimate of 145,000; meanwhile, November was revised to 261,000, up from the previous estimate of 256,000.

“After revisions, job gains have averaged 211,000 over the last 3 months,” the report said.

Although the unemployment rate rose in January, economists note that it was due to a rise in the participation rate, which means more people start actively looking for work. The Participation rate rose 63.4%, up from December's reading of 63.2%.

Although the data was better than expected it could some markets analysts said that it won’t have a major impact on gold because it won’t shift the Federal’s reserves accommodative monetary policy.

“The Fed will be encouraged by the rise in labor force participation and see that as validation for keeping rates low,” said Adam Button, managing direct of Forexlive.com

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