NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks posted modest gains Thursday on steady improvements in the labor market even as investors await an August employment report due Friday morning that may offer greater insight into the strength of the U.S. economic recovery.
Market participants are closely gauging employment numbers as the Federal Reserve has said the national jobs outlook will affect its decision on whether to taper its economic stimulus program.
"It would seem that good news will be good news overall for the market in the bigger picture," said Todd Salamone, senior vice president of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "Maybe not tomorrow, but I think what the market wants to see is if or when there is tapering we have an economy that can handle that."The private sector created 176,000 jobs in August, less-than-forecast but well within the overall view of modest improvement in the country's jobless picture, according to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing. A 200,000 increase was expected according to a poll of economists by Thomson Reuters. Economists are anticipating the United States to have add 180,000 nonfarm payrolls in August, according to surveys by Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg. Though many economists and analysts continue to forecast some form of central bank tapering, there remains skepticism amid the recent labor data. "The ADP report says that, 'Look, we're still creating jobs, but the labor market is not growing at a robust pace,'" said Lindsey Piegza, economist at Sterne Agee. "You plug in the 176,000
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