U.S. Stocks Limp On Weak Jobs Report

by The Chicago Times Business Staff

October 8, 2021

NEW YORK – Stocks shook in choppy trade Friday, as investors struggled to find a clear theme for markets after labor data revealed that the US economy created far fewer jobs than expected in September.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.69 points to close at 34,746.25, while the S&P 500 slipped 8.42 points to end at 4,391.34. The Nasdaq lost 74.48 points 14,579.54.

A rise in Treasury yields indicates that fixed-income investors believe September’s headline figures will not derail the central bank’s plans to begin unwinding its easy money policies before the end of the year.

The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased by only 194,000 in the month, compared to the Dow Jones estimate of 500,000.  However, the unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent, compared to expectations of 5.1 percent, and the August report was revised up to 366,000 from 235,000.

In Washington, an unprecedented federal default was avoided this week when the Senate voted late Thursday to extend the government’s debt ceiling through December.  The reprieve is only temporary, as lawmakers must return to bargaining before the end of the year.