Wall Street and European stocks finished mostly lower on Friday after U.S. employers shed jobs in September for the first time in seven years, as weather-related disturbances weighed on hiring.
Nonfarm payrolls fell by 33,000 in September, confounding expectations of a 90,000 gain, data from the Labor Department revealed Friday. The August figures were revised up to reflect an increase of 169,000 versus initial estimates of 156,000.
Dismal NFP numbers were largely due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which ripped through Texas and Florida in late August and early September. The storms combined for $200 billion worth of damage.
However, the monthly report wasn’t all negative. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%, a level not seen since 2001, as workforce participation increased. Labour force participation jumped to 63.1% last month from 62.9% in August.
On the earnings front, wages accelerated 0.5% on month and 2.9% annually, official data showed. That was much higher than the 2.5% year-over-year increase forecast by economists.
The bulk of the job losses occurred in the restaurant industry. Employed in food services and drinking places declined by 105,000 due to bad weather. The industry recorded average growth of 24,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index snapped their record streak following the jobs report, but still headed for a fourth consecutive weekly advance. The large-cap S&P 500 Index closed down 0.1%. The Dow ended virtually flat.
European markets were mostly lower, with the Euro Stoxx 50 Pr declining 0.3%. Individual bourses in Germany, France and Spain also finished in negative territory. The United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 Index bucked the downtrend, closing up 0.2%.
In currencies, the U.S. dollar index edged down 0.1% to 93.73. The greenback continues to trade near three-month highs.
Investors can expect a steady stream of high-profile data this week, including reports on retail sales and consumer inflation on Friday.