NEW YORK – A late rally gave Wall Street a modest advance Friday after a lackluster employment report left investors wondering about the pace of economic growth and inflation.
While October's job creation figures fell short of expectations, it signaled the economy is weathering the blows dealt by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Labor Department (search) said U.S. employers added 56,000 jobs last month, half the 100,000 increase projected by economists.
Investors also focused on September's job loss, which was scaled back 27,000 jobs to just 8,000, suggesting the hurricanes' impact was less than feared. But a downward revision to August's figure indicated the job market may have been weaker than previously thought before the hurricanes struck, said Christopher Piros (search), director of investment strategy for Prudential's Strategic Investment Research Group.
Piros also said that while payrolls have expanded by 48,000 from August to October, the growth came from a 52,000 rise in temporary employment and a 45,000 gain in construction jobs.
"Meanwhile, the rest of the economy has lost 49,000 jobs," Piros said. "That's not exactly a picture of strength."
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 8.17, or 0.08 percent, to 10,530.76.
Broader stock indicators also advanced. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.20, or 0.02 percent, at 1,220.14, and the Nasdaq composite index added 9.21, or 0.43 percent, to 2,169.43.