David Kelly: Economy still strong despite jobs data

Economy can tolerate Fed rate hike: Pro
Economy can tolerate Fed rate hike: Pro   

Even though the latest nonfarm payroll numbers disappointed investors, the U.S. economy remains strong, JPMorgan Funds' David Kelly said Monday.

"I don't think the U.S. economy is [too] fragile. First of all, we should not overreact to one miss on the employment report. This is an estimate of the seasonably-adjusted change in a magnitude of 140 million. To miss by over 100,000, that does happen from time to time," he told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "We weren't growing at about 300,000 jobs per month, but I don't think we're growing at about 100,000, either."

Kelly made his remarks as U.S. markets reacted for the first time to a jobs reports stating that the U.S. economy had added 126,000 jobs in March, well below the estimated 248,000. The Dow Jones industrial average opened Monday's session by falling more than 100 points before erasing those losses.

The Dow traded about 0.6 percent up, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite also traded more than 0.5 percent up during late-morning trading. Click here to see what the U.S. markets are doing now.

Kelly even said the economy could handle a Federal Reserve rates increase. "It just has a lower trend growth rate, much closer to 2 and 2.5 percent than the 3 percent we're used to, but I do think it is time for the Fed to raise rates and I do think they will do that by September."

The Fed is in no hurry: Pro
The Fed is in no hurry: Pro   

Nevertheless, the central bank will hold off on raising rates for as long as it can, Rich Clarida, PIMCO's global strategic adviser, told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" in another interview.

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"The Fed is in absolutely no hurry.… The Fed definitely wants the momentum in the economy to continue," Clarida said. "I think the Fed is data-dependent, and certainly the markets have pushed out that hike to the fall. Perhaps the markets are romancing this Goldilocks notion that the economy is strong enough to be supportive, but not too hot to get an aggressive Fed move."