Higher job additions in the month of July led to a strong opening for the major market averages. The Dow Jones Industrial Average set a new record high on the heels of a strong labor market report. The statistics showed that the U.S. economy added more jobs than most analysts anticipated.
The Department of Labor reported that 209,000 non-farm payroll jobs were added. The consensus among analysts was 180,000. The labor department also revised June’s job numbers from 222,000 to 231,000, but the agency also cut May’s job numbers from 152,000 to 145,000.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped by 10 basis points to 4.3 percent, which remains at a 16-year low. The Department of Labor also reported that hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent from last month and are up 2.5 percent compared to the same time last year.
When the Fed met in July, it left rates unchanged at 1 to 1.5 percent. The federal fund’s target rate is the interest rate banks charge when they lend each other money. The better than expected jobs report leaves many analysts speculating the Fed will raise rates when it meets again in December.
Several companies reported earnings on Thursday, with GoPro issuing a positive outlook for the third quarter of 2017 while the health insurance company Cigna topped earnings and revenue estimates. Yelp was up 27 percent after reporting a strong second quarter. The Kraft Heinz Co. reported mixed results for the second quarter of 2017, but the company’s board of directors did raise dividend payments to 62.5 cents per share.
Shares of Toyota rose on news of an agreement the company made with Mazda to build a new manufacturing plant in the U.S. According to estimates, the new plant will create 4,000 new jobs when it is completed in 2021. The two companies expect the facility to cost $1.6 billion to build, but it will produce 300,000 new cars each year.