Stocks were modestly lower in choppy trading on Friday after data showed the unemployment rate declined in January, even as employers unexpectedly cut jobs.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slipped 25.62 points, or 0.26 percent, to 9,976.56. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was off 3.07 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,060.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 0.28 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,125.71.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)