Dow rises 800 points after blowout jobs report, comments by Federal Reserve head

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Jan. 4, 2019 / 1:34 PM GMT / Updated Jan. 4, 2019 / 3:06 PM GMT

By Lucy Bayly

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 800 points on Friday morning after the monthly Labor Department jobs report showed the economy gained 312,000 jobs in December versus 176,000 expected.

The jobs report, released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, also showed that the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9 percent as more people entered the workforce. Wage growth for the month was up four-tenths of a percent, for an annual increase of 3.2 percent.

The robust numbers indicate the labor market has remained largely immune to recent Wall Street whiplash and rumblings of an economic slowdown.

President Donald Trump praised the latest data during remarks in the White House Rose Garden on Friday afternoon, saying the “tremendous” jobs number was partly due to companies such as auto manufacturers repatriating to the U.S. after moving some of their production abroad.

“The December employment report continues to show just how impressive the labor market is as we kick off 2019,” said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group. “After a disappointing November report, December’s strong performance quells any lingering feelings that a hiring plateau might have occurred from the impact of tariffs and recent market volatility.”

Jan. 4, 201903:44

Wall Street also focused Friday on comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who spoke at a monetary policy panel, along with former Fed heads Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke.

Powell said the Fed was “listening carefully” to markets that were pricing in downside risks such as “concerns on global growth and trade negotiations.”

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