NEW YORK (AP) -- The government's monthly survey of employment is the most widely followed gauge of the U.S. economy and receives close scrutiny from Wall Street. It can cause big moves in financial markets, especially when the report shows that job growth is much stronger or weaker than economists expected.
Job growth is at a subpar pace, with the economy adding an average of 180,000 a month so far this year.
Here are jobs reports from the last four months and how the stock market reacted to the news on the day the reports were released. (The job additions are initial figures. The government often revises them.)
— JUNE 7:
WHAT HAPPENED: The 175,000 jobs added by American employers in May struck the right balance for investors. The report suggested the economy was expanding, but not so strongly that the Federal Reserve would pull back from its economic stimulus soon. That program has been an important factor powering a four-year bull run in stocks.
HOW THE MARKET REACTED: Stocks surged. The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 207 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 15,248.12. It was the Dow's best day in five months. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 20.82 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,643.38.
— JULY 5:
WHAT HAPPENED: The 195,000 job additions the government reported for June handily beat Wall Street's expectations of 165,000. Investors concluded that it represented an economy on the mend.
HOW THE MARKET REACTED: Stocks rose moderately. The Dow rose 147.29 points, or 1 percent, to 15,135.84. The S&P 500 index rose 16.48 points, or 1 percent, to 1,631.89.
— AUGUST 2:
WHAT HAPPENED: The 162,000 jobs added in July disappointed investors, although the tepid growth made it more likely that the Fed would prolong its economic stimulus.
HOW THE MARKET REACTED: Stock indexes rose modestly, but enough to reach record highs. The S&P 500 index edged up 2.80 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,709.67, an all-time closing high. The Dow rose 30.34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,658.36, also a record close.
— SEPTEMBER 6:
WHAT HAPPENED: U.S. employers added 169,000 jobs in August, fewer than the solid 177,000 expected. Combined, June, July and August amounted to the weakest three-month stretch of job growth in a year.
HOW THE MARKET REACTED: Stocks climbed on the news initially, as hopes rose for more economic stimulus from the Fed. Then, escalating tensions between the U.S. and Syria pushed the market down. By the end of the day, the stock market ended mostly flat. The S&P 500 index rose less than a point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,655.17. The Dow fell 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,922.50
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