If there was any question whether the Fed would hold off on hiking interest rates this month, Friday's jobs report may have put it to rest.
Nonfarm payroll growth in August missed market expectations, rising just 151,000 against estimates of 180,000.
For Dennis Gartman, investor and author of the widely followed Gartman Letter, the news was even worse than the headline suggests.
In addition to the sharp dropoff from the summer's previously robust job-creation, August saw a slowdown in the rate of increase for average hourly earnings, and a decline in hours worked.
In his Monday letter, Gartman said the one-tenth decline in hours worked from 34.4 hours to 34.3 hours was "the rough equivalent of actually losing at least 200,000 non-farm payroll workers in the period in question."
The work week decline, reported in the last monthly payrolls release before the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Sept. 20-21, effectively scotched a rate hike, he said.
"This is the number that caught us off, and this is the number that we think shall make it all but impossible for the FOMC to vote to raise the (overnight) fed funds rate at the (September) meeting," Gartman wrote.