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NEW YORK (TheStreet ) -- Gold prices were skyrocketing Friday after the worst jobs number in almost a year triggered a rush into safety.

Gold for December delivery was jumped $47.80 to settle at $1,876.90 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The

gold price

has traded as high as $1,884.60 and as low as $1,826.90 while the spot gold price was up $58, according to Kitco's gold index.


silver prices

finished up $1.53 at $43.06 an ounce. The

U.S. dollar index

was up 0.297% at $74.74.

The Labor Department's latest read on employment was a nightmare. In August the private sector added a paltry 17,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department, but overall the economy added zero jobs and the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1%.

Vote: Where will gold prices finish in 2011?

Recent data have caused some firms to downgrade their expectations.

Goldman Sachs

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said Thursday that it cut its nonfarm payroll estimates to 25,000 from 50,000, but it didn't make the number any less painful with the

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Down Jones Industrial Average

down triple digits.

The wild card was the 46,000


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workers on strike during August. Their recorded absence might have made the jobs data appear more gloomy, despite the fact those employees are back to work. But even adding 46,000 jobs to the economy is anemic when 150,000 are needed a month to jump start growth, according to experts.

Vote: How High Will Silver Prices Go in 2011?

The number isn't cut and dry however and will probably trigger more uncertainty. The nightmarish jobs number could spur the

Federal Reserve

into action and trigger another round of quantitative easing, otherwise known as QE -- an action which has propped up stocks in the past.

With a Fed intervention far from certain and political gridlock in Washington over how to help the economy grow, investors are rushing into gold as a safety net. "The immediate outlook for gold very much lies in the U.S. data," says Ross Norman, analyst at Sharps Pixley, a bullion broker. "Gold's gains underscores its role in financial markets as a safe haven benefiting from a flight to quality when all other asset classes decline." Norman says he expects gold to be brushing up against the $1,900 an ounce level before the close of trading.

Norman points to a strong gold bullion market and solid dip buying as also providing support for higher prices. In fact, reported Thursday that the U.S. Mint sold more ounces of gold and silver bullion coins in August than it had since January despite record high prices for gold.

Norman backs this up by saying that average daily trade volumes at bullion exchanges in Hong Kong and Dubai have doubled in the past couple days vs. a year ago.

If selling continues in stocks or if the Fed doesn't step in, however, investors might be forced to sell all assets, including gold, to cover losses.

Jon Nadler, senior analyst at, is still calling for a 35% correction from gold's intraday record high of $1,917 an ounce. Nadler believes part of the rally today in gold is bullish investors looking for any excuse to push gold higher.

Although finding a trigger for a correction is tough as bargain hunters are still supporting the market, but Nadler says there isn't a catalyst for higher prices either. No intervention or a mild one from the Fed could cause that selloff or some kind of external event, according to Nadler.

Gold could also be getting a price boost from more drama in Greece. Reportedly the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund officials have left the country so Greece can get to work on 2012 budget and growth reforms. The country will not be able to meet its 2011 deficit reduction targets. The task force said good progress is being made and will return in mid-September, but it only underscores how unstable Greece's financial situation really is.

Gold mining stocks

were popping.

Barrick Gold


was up 2.1% to $52.79 while

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Newmont Corporation Report

was adding 2.5 at $64.05. Other gold stocks,




AngloGold Ashanti

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were trading at $54.49 and $45.38, respectively.


Written by Alix Steel in

New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Alix Steel


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