Wall Street shrugged off disappointing news on the job front Friday as U.S. stocks settled near 4-year highs.
According to the Labor Department, U.S. employers added just 96,000 positions to their payrolls in August. That’s down more than 30 percent from July. The national unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a point to 8.1 percent, but only because more people gave up looking for work.
The weak jobs report increased expectations that the Federal Reserve will announce further steps next week to encourage lending and keep interest rates low.
The Dow Jones Industrials rallied Friday and settled with a weekly gain of more than 300 points, while the S&P 500 followed suit with a similar move.
Despite the “running of the bulls” on Wall Street, Friday’s labor report has major implications for those hoping to reside in the White House. No president since FDR has won re-election with unemployment above 7.2 percent. And, as the incumbent accepted his party’s nomination, President Obama touted the hope and change realized in his first term and pleaded with the American people to give him more time.
Democrats ventured into battleground state North Carolina this year for the party quadrennial nominating convention. Hoping to answer the Republican Party’s rollout of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan the week before, Democrats invoked a defensive stance.
Emphasizing a diverse lineup of minority politicians, Democratic leaders spent the two days mixing a theme of party unity and attacks on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
But it was a former president, Bill Clinton, that seized a entire evening of attention with an impassioned defense of Democratic economic principles.
Clinton, invoking a strong 1990’s economy, told convention attendees and Americans that the Great Recession was far too disastrous for a one-term presidential fix.
On the convention’s final evening, President Barack Obama admitted his tenure has brought some legislative and economic disappointment but urged Americans for more time and a second term.
Only 60 days and three presidential debates stand between now and Election Day.