Stocks on Wall Street fell after the January jobs report showed that nonfarm payrolls grew by 257,000 in the first month of 2015.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,824.3, -60.6, (-0.3%)
- S&P 500: 2,055.5, -7, (-0.3%)
- Nasdaq: 4,744.4, -20.7, (-0.4%)
And now, the top stories on Friday:
1. It was all about jobs on Friday. The January jobs report showed that nonfarm payrolls grew by 257,000 in the first month of the year, topping expectations for payroll gains of 230,000. This marked the 12th straight month of job gains over 200,000. The unemployment rate ticked up in January, rising to 5.7% from 5.6%, though this level is still at the lowest its been since July 2008. The November and December jobs reports were also revised up to show larger than previously reported gains, and the last three months now mark the best three-month period for job gains in the US in 17 years.
2. One of the potential negatives from the jobs report could be the increased unemployment rate. But as Business Insider’s Shane Ferro noted, this increase shows that people are looking for jobs, as this number doesn’t include those who are out of the workforce and not trying to find work.
3. Perhaps the most encouraging part of what was an overall strong jobs report was wage growth. Average hourly earnings rose 0.5% month-on-month in January, the biggest jump in wages since November 2008, while wages rose 2.2% over the same month last year. Another positive takeaway from the jobs report was the increase in the labour force participation rate, which rose to 62.9% from 62.7% in December.
4. The number of oil rigs in use in the US continues to collapse. Data from oil driller Baker Hughes released on Friday showed that the number of oil rigs in use in the US fell by another 83 lat week, to 1,140. This is the lowest level since December 2011 and is down from a peak of 1,609 seen in October 2014.
5. Oil prices had a wild week, rising as much as 9% on Tuesday before falling as much as 7% on Wednesday, but overall, prices rose and Brent crude oil prices — used as the international benchmark price — finished with their biggest two-week gain in 17 years.
6. Also in economic data, we got the latest report on consumer credit, which showed balances expanded by $US14.76 billion in December, a bit less than the $US15 billion expansion that was expected by economists.
7. GoPro shares crashed on Friday, falling 13% after the wearable camera company last night reported earnings that beat expectations, though the company also disclosed that its COO would resign at the end of the month. Thursday night was a busy night for earnings, and following its results, LinkedIn made new all-time highs, while Twitter shares also rallied despite user growth numbers that disappointed.