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Goldman's chief economist: Strong jobs numbers don't look sustainable

  • "I'm not saying it's going to stop in the next few months but we're not going to be able to sustain that kind of job growth," Jan Hatzius says.
  • On Friday, the Labor Department says the U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent.

The strong U.S. jobs numbers don't look sustainable but wages are likely to increase, said Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs.

Hatzius spoke after the Labor Department said Friday that the U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent, the lowest since March 2001. The number of employed Americans hit a new high of 153.5 million.

"All of it looks quite solid from the demand side but what's not sustainable is to see these kinds of numbers with the unemployment rate as low as it is, U6 as low as it is," Hatzius said Friday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

"I'm not saying it's going to stop in the next few months but we're not going to be able to sustain that kind of job growth in the long term. I think the trend is probably below (100,000)."

Hatzius said that eventually the U.S. will begin to put enough pressure on the labor market to get more upward pressure on wages and price inflation.

The Federal Reserve has closely watched the Labor Department's monthly report, particularly for wage rises. Such increases have been somewhat muted as President Donald Trump has promised growth closer to 3 percent than the average 1.9 percent so far this year.

"I would say I'm more confident on the wage part of that. The weakness we've seen in 2017 to me really looks more of a blip," Hatzius said.

He said we could see the wage number at around 3 percent by next year. That number currently stands at 2.5 percent on an annualized basis, according to the latest jobs report. He's not as confident on price inflation, though. He said inflation "above 2 in 2018, that's too aggressive. I wouldn't expect that."

Still, the Fed should be on track for one more interest rate hike this year, he said. The central bank has raised short-term rates three times since December.

Watch: Trump tweets 'excellent' jobs report