Dollar bounces back after US non-farm payroll falls to 151,000 in August

Emma Haslett
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Non-farm payroll is closely-watched by economists trying to figure out when the next interest rate hike will be (Source: Getty)

The number of new job openings in the US fell to 151,000 in August, down from 255,000 the month before - missing economists' expectations of 180,000.

Unemployment held at 4.9 per cent, figures published today showed - against expectations of a fall to 4.8 per cent.

The disappointing figure pushed the dollar 0.4 per cent down against the euro to €0.8895 in lunchtime trading in London - but it bounced back in late afternoon, hitting €0.8963, 0.4 per cent higher.

The figure adds further fuel to the fire of data which came out of the US yesterday. The dollar fell against the euro after the Institute of Supply Managers' purchasing managers' index showed economic activity in the US manufacturing sector had fallen to 49.4 per cent in August - effectively showing the sector is in contraction.

Ahead of today's non-farm payroll figure, David Morrison, senior market strategist at Spreadco, suggested the data would be closely watched by those anticipating another rise this month.

"Today’s non-farm payroll release has taken on particular importance as it is the last big US employment update before the FOMC [Federal Open Markets Committee] meeting on later this month," he said

"This meeting has itself gained in significance since Janet Yellen’s speech last Friday when she said the case for raising the fed funds rate had strengthened over the last few months.

"This has led to speculation that the US central bank may take the opportunity to hike rates at this meeting rather than holding off until December."

However, although non-farm payroll missed expectations, some economists suggested 151,000 new jobs was nevertheless a strong enough figure to convince the FOMC to hike interest rates.

"The number was not sturdy, however the Fed only needs a number which blows just enough wind for their ship to sail," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets.

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