U.S. stocks soared on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a record high, after the U.S. economy added the most new jobs in nearly three years last month. The S&P 500 Index, which tracks the share prices of the nation's 500 largest publicly traded companies, also broke its intraday record high previously set on Wednesday and climbed to 2,077.08.
The U.S. economy generated 321,000 new jobs in November, a jump from the average six-month change in recent months at 258,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged from the past three months at 5.8 percent, the Labor Department said Friday. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised up from 256,000 to 271,000, and October was revised up from 214,000 to 243,000.
“As the labor market continues to tighten in the coming year, we expect to see further improvement in wage growth,” Gad Levanon, managing director at The Conference Board, said in a note Friday. Even with low inflation numbers, the strong labor market reports are pressuring the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise rates in the first half of 2015, according to Levanon. "As the labor market continues to tighten in the coming year, we expect to see further improvement in wage growth," Levanon said.
Following the report, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which measures 30 large industrial stocks, gained 52.98 points, or 0.30 percent, to a record intraday high of 17,957.76; the S&P 500 Index added 5.15 points, or 0.24 percent, to a record intraday high of 2,077.08. The Nasdaq Composite rose 16.12 points, or 0.35 percent, to 4,784.85. In midday trading, the Dow gained 81.11 points, or 0.45 percent, to 17,981.21; The S&P 500 added 6.19 points, or 0.30 percent, to $2,078.01; the Nasdaq climbed 16.83 points, or 0.35 percent, to 4,786.27.