An “unambiguously good” jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor sent stocks soaring Friday and likely will boost President Obama’s political prospects.
The economy created 243,000 jobs in January. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent from 8.5 percent the previous month and 9.1 percent a year ago.
“There are no real caveats to those numbers,” said Kurt Rankin, an economist with PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh, who described the report’s numbers as “unambiguously good.
“They went up across the board,” said Rankin.
Expanded hiring in manufacturing, where payrolls increased by 50,000 in January on top of months of general job growth, led to hiring in the service sector, including business and professional services, which added 70,000 jobs, the biggest gainer.
That category, which includes accounting, computer design, law, and engineering, derives some of its strength from serving manufacturing companies, Rankin said.
The Dow Jones industrial average shot 160 points higher, to 12,865, in the first hour of trading. That is 55 points higher than its highest close since the financial crisis struck in the fall of 2008. The Dow closed the day at 12,862.23, up 156.82.
The jobs report “fuels a more optimistic climate for the president, and incumbents in general benefit from a sense that the economy is moving in the right direction,” said political science professor Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.