The "Goldilocks" not-too-fast, not-too-slow July employment report drove an improvement in stock market sentiment early Friday, while adding fire to the debate among Fed watchers on whether the central bank should be acting sooner to normalize monetary policy.
Marking the sixth straight month of 200,000-plus nonfarm job growth, the government said Friday the economy created 209,000 new positions in July, with an unemployment rate of 6.2 percent.
Wall Street estimates had been calling for a larger jobs gain of 233,000 in July and a slightly rosier unemployment rate of 6 percent.
Right after the jobs numbers were released, a panel of experts on CNBC's "Squawk Box" expressed mixed views on what the report should mean for Fed policy.
"Their policy is way out of whack with the reality of the data," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group. "The problem is the data is not great but it's good enough to remove what they are doing."
Tony Fratto, former deputy press secretary for President George W. Bush, disagreed.
"If this is what we're looking at, the pace [of the Fed] is just about probably right to continue to unwind and and do it in a measured way." Fratto's expectation was for July jobs growth of 320,000—much higher than consensus estimates.
"Squawk Box" tweeted out Fratto's prediction, along with those of all the panelists.