The first nonfarm payroll data of the year was released this morning, showing jobs increased by more than the expected 200,000. The 292,000 increase reported for December, following a 252,000 increase in November, was a strong end to 2015, making it the second-best year for American workers since 1999. With the unemployment rate also holding at 5%, the report shows continued support for the recent Federal Reserve interest rate increase and an expectation of another increase in March.
The dollar is also stronger this morning at 99.155. The Dow rebounded today with a small increase in China’s stock markets following their recent decline. As mentioned yesterday, China’s Central Bank was trying to lower the value of the yuan, but after this week’s stock market collapse the Central Bank has changed directions and is trying to raise its value.
With the news around the Chinese stock market, oil prices fell yesterday with Brent hitting a low of $32.16 and WTI at $32.10. They recovered later in the day on further unrest in the Middle East and settled at $33.75 and 33.27, respectively. The OPEC basket price also fell to $27.85, hitting its lowest level since late 2003.