More than a month after Hurricane Katrina and two weeks after Rita hit the Gulf Coast, the official assessment of the economic damage still feels like a lot of hot air. Case in point: the Labor Department's latest monthly employment survey. Only 35,000 payrolls were lost in September, according to the government data released Friday. That was way below the conservative forecasts of Wall Street economists, who on average expected payrolls to drop by 150,000. The report also contained upward revisions to previous monthly numbers, adding a total 77,000 payrolls for July and August, lifting the monthly average to 194,000 over the past year. As for the employment report's wage survey, it pointed to a rather tame picture. Average hourly wages rose by 3 cents, or 0.2%, to $16.18, in September, below expectations for a 0.4% gain. The stock market, which had plunged over the past three sessions over concerns about inflation and growth, breathed a sigh of relief after the report's release. Gains, however, were capped as crude oil bounced from its recent slide and, perhaps, traders rethought the veracity of the surprisingly strong employment report. Crude oil was recently up 41 cents at $61.77 a barrel in Nymex trading. After trading as high as 10,347.30 in its initial reaction to the jobs data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was recently up 9.61 points, or 0.09%, at 10,296.71. The blue-chip average was lifted by the likes of Exxon Mobil ( XOM), Caterpillar ( CAT), IBM ( IBM) and Merck ( MRK). Also down from its morning high, the S&P 500 was recently up 3.02 points, or 0.25%, to 1194.51. The Nasdaq Composite was up 6.30 points, or 0.30%, at 2090.38. In reaction to the employment news, the price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond first fell, and its yield rose, on expectations that a still-strong job market is adding to inflationary pressures. But the trend reversed midmorning as the bond's yield approached 4.40%, an attractive level for many buyers. The price of the 10-year was recently up 4/32 while its yield dipped to 4.37%. Bonds also received so-called safe-haven bids after New York City partially closed off Penn Station Friday morning, a day after authorities alerted citizens to a possible attack on the city's subways.