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Cashin not impressed with jobs report, here's why

Cashin not impressed with jobs report, here's why

The December jobs report is not necessarily indicative of a strong economy in the U.S., Art Cashin of UBS said Friday.

"Not to be a wet blanket, but that jobs number is a little suspect. If you look at the household survey: 485,000 [and] 35 percent of those went to people under the age of 19. Another chunk went to people over 55; only 16,000 out of 485,000 jobs went to people between the ages of 24 and 55," Cashin told CNBC's " Squawk Alley ."

"That sounds like a lot of part-time hiring to me," he said.

The U.S. economy added 292,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. Economists were expecting a gain of 200,000, according to a Reuters consensus estimate.

Tom Porcelli of RBC Capital Markets and Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs had more positive views of the number than Cashin.

"There's a bifurcation taking place in the United States right now. Even though you have 292,000 jobs, you have weak growth. That's a function of inventories," Porcelli, his firm's chief U.S. economist, told CNBC's " Squawk on the Street " on Friday. "Once you strip the most volatile component of GDP ... you're left with underlined aggregate demand running at a nice clip, between 2 percent and 2.5 percent. That's the thing people should focus on."

Hatzius, Goldman's chief economist, said: "This was a good report. If you wanted to pick holes in it, you'd say there's a big weather effect in it, but it's hard to really get nervous when it's 292, even if you subtract a lot from it, say 40,000 or a little more, it's still a good number."

Financial markets reacted positively to the information once it was released, with Dow Jones futures gaining more than 200 points. However, markets failed to sustain those high levels, with the three major indexes holding near the flatline in Friday afternoon trading.

The report also led to traders briefly pricing in a more than 50 percent chance for a rate hike in March after the release, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.

David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, said Friday that the data keep the Fed on track to raise rates at its March meeting

"I think this was a very strong report, particularly in services. Of those 292,000 jobs added, 230,000 were in the private service area: things like health care, business services, financial services, good service jobs. Not retail jobs," he told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

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