Stocks rose at the open and the S&P 500 hit another record high after the June jobs report showed an accelerating recovery for the U.S. labor market.
The broad market index rose 0.2%, while the tech heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.4% to hit its own intraday all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added about 60 points.
The economy added 850,000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting an addition of 706,000. The print topped the 559,000 jobs created in May.
The unemployment rate did come in at 5.9%, higher than expected.
“This is a strong report and should be taken as a sign of things to come for an accelerating labor market,” Aberdeen Standard Investments deputy chief economist James McCann said in a note.
“Today’s data won’t change the Fed’s view. An acceleration in the labor market like the one signaled in this report is exactly what they were anticipating,” McCann added. “The pick-up in hiring should tell the central bank that firms are having more success finding workers, which will ease concerns about a more protracted period of increasing wages. What will happen now is that investors will really focus in on when the Fed is likely to announce a tapering of its asset purchases.”
Wages rose 0.3% for the month and are up 3.6% year over year, matching expectations.
“The data for recent months suggest that the rising demand for labor associated with the recovery from the pandemic may have put upward pressure on wages,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its report.
Despite the uncertainty entering the jobs report, equity markets have been on a strong run in recent days and continued to post records on Thursday.
The S&P 500 rose 0.5% during Thursday’s regular session and notched its sixth-straight record close, finishing above 4,300 for the first time at 4,319.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher by 131 points to close at 34,633.53, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ticked up about 0.1% to 14,522.38.
Those gains added to already-robust 2021 market returns.
The economic rebound sparked by vaccine deployment and looser Covid-19 restrictions helped the S&P 500 rise by more than 14% in the first half of the year. The Dow and Nasdaq also posting double-digit percentage gains during the six months ended June 30.
For the week, the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.1% as of Thursday’s close. The S&P 500 and Dow were up about 0.9% and 0.6%, respectively.
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