An encouraging U.S. jobs report was not enough to give the markets a lift on Friday as worries about Greece’s debt crisis continued to weigh on sentiment.
The number of U.S. jobs rose by 80,000 in October while the unemployment rate was little changed at 9% versus 9.1% in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Economists had expected an increase of 95,000 jobs, and the consensus was for an unchanged unemployment rate.
In a bright spot of news, figures for August and September were revised to show 102,000 more jobs than reported earlier. The BLS revised its September jobs number higher to 158,000 from 103,000, as well as the number of new jobs in August to 104,000 from 57,000. However, the country’s number of unemployed persons, 13.9 million, changed little, the bureau said in its employment situation release.
“Today’s report shows that the labor market is healing, but only slowly, leaving the economic recovery on a sluggish trajectory,” wrote the North America economics group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research.
The revised figures were not enough to counter investors’ worries about a Friday confidence vote for Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. Even though a proposed popular vote in Greece over the European debt deal was abandoned on Thursday, uncertainty remains about the future of Greece’s debt deal with the eurozone.
Stocks were lower in early afternoon trading, with the Dow Jones industrial average down 141 points, 1.3% lower, at 11,903. The S&P 500 was down 15 points, 1.2% lower, at 1,246. The Nasdaq index was down 324 points, 0.89% lower, at 2,673.