Gene Epstein of Barron’s uses his latest “Economic Beat” column to parse the latest jobs data.

An interest-rate hike at this month’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee has been tabled. Even worse, a question mark now looms over my own expectation that economic growth will accelerate to 2.5% this year from 2% last year.

Not that the economic data released last week were all bad. The unemployment rate plunged in May from 5% to 4.7%, another low for this expansion, and a clear sign that the labor market continues to tighten. …

… THE BAD DATA INCLUDED a measly gain of 38,000 in nonfarm payroll employment in May. Even if we add back 35,000 jobs to adjust for the temporary drag of the strike at Verizon Communications (ticker: VZ), we’re hardly within hailing distance of a decent showing. With downward revisions to prior months, the average three-month increase comes to about 125,000, which has often coincided with slow growth of gross domestic product.

Then add for the month of May the pullback in the Institute for Supply Management’s index of activity in the services sector, the continued slide in new auto sales, and the quite-modest climb in ISM’s index of manufacturing activity.

Growth of 2.5% this year wouldn’t be impressive because it merely assumes that 2016 will perform no better than both 2014 and 2013. But in light of last week’s data, it might be too much to expect.