U.S. stocks plunged in early trading Friday on the heels of a government jobs report signaling a cooling labor market.
In trading shortly after 10 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 467.17 points, or 1.56%, to 29,459.77. The S&P 500 dropped 77.68 points, or 2.07%, to 3,666.86, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 306.48 points, or 2.77%, to 10,766.83.
The U.S Labor Department reported Friday that employers added 263,000 jobs in September. The country’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%, down from 3.7% in August, but still lower than the first half of the year.
“We are seeing labor demand cool,” Sarah House, senior economist at Wells Fargo told the Wall Street Journal. “But we have a long way to go towards restoring balance between supply and demand for labor.”
Friday is the third day in a row the markets fell broadly. The declines came after a blistering start to the week when the three benchmark indexes rose Monday and Tuesday, reflecting the economic uncertainty of recent weeks.
The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates 0.75% last month, the third consecutive increase at that rate. Fed officials have indicated more rate increases are likely, raising concerns that the central bank could help push the economy into recession if it acts too aggressively to tamp down inflation.