Dow slumps at Friday’s open after U.S. jobs report comes in weaker than expected

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U.S. stock benchmarks wobbled lower Friday after the Labor Department’s employment report for August showed that a weaker-than-expected 235,000 jobs were created, even as the unemplyoment rate fell to 5.2% from 5.4% in the prior month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.21%
was trading 0.3% lower at 35,340, the S&P 500 index was down 0.3% at 4,523, while the Nasdaq Composite Index
COMP,
+0.21%
was trading 0.3% lower at 15,285 early in the session. Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal had forecast on average that 720,000 jobs would be created in August. The data raises some questions about the timing and pace of the Federal Reserve’s plans to remove monetary policies that have been in place since the height of the disruptions to financial markets from the COVID-19 pandemic. The lackluster headline employment figure also raises the question of how well the economy is growing jobs in the aftermath of the pandemic amid the emergence of the highly transmissible COVID-19 delta variant.

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