Stock index futures turned sharply higher on Friday following a brief sell-off after data showed U.S. employers cut fewer-than-expected jobs in August even as the unemployment rate hit a 26-year high.

The Labor Department said the unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent after dipping to 9.4 percent in July and the decline in payrolls was the smallest in a year at 216,000.

S&P 500 futures added 6.80 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 59 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 12.25 points.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy)