The Fed has employment numbers on its radar as opposed to real economic growth, Bill Gross said.
"Goodness, this quarter, for almost the second quarter in a row, we're close to the flatline in terms of economic growth," said Gross, who leads the Unconstrained Bond Fund at Janus Capital Group. "But the jobs market seems to be doing better, and that's the one they emphasize first. As long as jobs keep going at 200,000 a month, I think the Fed is well on its way to a June hike."
The Federal Reserve opted to leave interest rates unchanged at its April meeting Wednesday, noting that the labor market had improved, despite the appearance of slowing economic activity and moderate household spending. The Fed eventually wants to normalize rates, bringing the Fed funds rate up to 2 percent, Gross said.
Even with the " Yellen put" moving options markets, financial assets are yielding nearly nothing, Gross said. Still, he said he only expects one rate hike from the Federal Reserve in 2016. Markets for Fed funds futures now price in a 19 percent chance of a June hike.
"Usually I like to differ from the market or disagree with the market, but I think, in this case, one hike is probably where we're at," Gross said. "Can they get there [to 2 percent], based upon this market put, based on the market situations in emerging markets? I don't really think so, but they want to try."