Business Report: Stocks down, employment up

October 05, 2018 - 3:46 pm

Frank Miller reporting

The markets finished the week in the red, with the Dow down around 180 points. 

The Nasdaq was down 91. The Standard and Poors 500 dropped 16.

The losses came even despite a mostly positive employment report from the Labor Department.  Non-farm payroll employment was up 134,000 jobs; economists were expecting an increase of 185,000. 

However, the bright spot of that report was that the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, it’s lowest level since 1969.  While the reports show that the labor market remains strong, it does have investors on edge about the direction of interest rates.

The positive employment data led to some remarks earlier in the week from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, who said that low unemployment could lead to higher wages and a higher risk of inflation.  The jobs data overshadowed another report from the Commerce Department which showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened to $53.2 billion in August.

Oil was up a cent today to $74.34 a barrel, on the week oil was up 1.5%.  Oil closed at a four-year high on Wednesday. 

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