Stock index futures dropped on Friday, as the Labor Department revealed figures showing that the unemployment situation in the U.S. failed to improve measurably. The private sector added jobs – 64,000, in fact – but that gain was overshadowed by the loss of 159,000 jobs from the federal and local governments.
The decline in government positions, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is essentially attributable to the ending of temporary jobs at the 2010 Census and to cutbacks at the state and municipal level.
Unemployment stayed essentially unchanged, with 14.8 million out of work and the national unemployment rate stuck at 9.6 percent.
In the private sector, health care, professional services and service industry jobs continued to grow, while construction employment slipped, losing 21,000 positions over September.
Dow Jones Industrial Average index futures dropped 44 points to 10,914, while S&P 500 futures gave up 4.7 points to 1,151.80 at 8:32 a.m. EST.
Nasdaq 100 index futures slipped 7 points to 2,007.
The slump affected European and Asian indexes as well; Nikkei 225 index futures dropped 40 points to 9,540 at 8:18 a.m EST, while FTSE 100 index futures slid 31.5 points to 5,609 at 8:28 a.m. EST.
"There’s a tug of war in the markets between good factors and bad factors," Kenji Sekiguchi, the general manager of strategic research and investment at Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management Co. in Tokyo told Bloomberg News.