×

May jobs number is an outlier, but still puts the Fed on hold: Goldman's Hatzius

Friday's disappointing jobs report is likely an anomaly, but it was bad enough to wipe out any chance that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this month, Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jan Hatzius said Friday.

Expectations for a June hike had risen after minutes from the Fed's April meeting showed policymakers were likely to raise rates if data pointed to second-quarter growth — and if labor market improvement continued.

Then on Friday, the Labor Department reported the United States added just 38,000 jobs in May, well below expectations for 162,000 positions.

Hatzius said the report was likely an outlier.

"It's not really consistent with … the vast majority of indicators we're getting. We're not seeing a spike in [unemployment] claims. We're not seeing a deterioration in how households view the job market," he told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

The fact that wage growth held steady and the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.7 percent in May is also encouraging, he said.

The 0.3 point decline in the unemployment rate was due primarily to Americans dropping out of the labor force. But Hatzius noted recent reports had shown more positive labor force participation data. The loss in May can be seen as payback for those earlier gains, he added.

Still, the report does raise the possibility that a slowdown has taken hold, which means the Fed will have to assess more information before it raises rates, he said. Goldman Sachs said it now sees a 40 percent chance for a rate hike in July.

With the United States now at nearly full employment, it will be harder to add good-quality jobs, said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds.

"The pace of payroll jobs had to slow down. We were adding 240,000 jobs from October to March in an economy barely growing over 1 percent," he told "Squawk on the Street."

Kelly cautioned that one weak number does not add up to a trend, but he agreed it's enough to keep the Fed from raising rates this month.

DS Economics founder and CEO Diane Swonk called the report a "body blow" to the Fed that sent a clear message: Don't raise rates in June.

Still, the Fed expected a slowdown in job gains and is comfortable with payroll growth of about 100,000 per month. Factoring in the end of the Verizon workers strike, May's payroll numbers were closer to 70,000, she said.

"The question is, can we get to a level they feel we're regaining enough traction to raise rates? I think that's important," she told "Squawk on the Street."