NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Markets are looking to gain Thursday, driven by stronger-than-expected nonfarm payrolls data, a falling unemployment rate and a narrowing international trade gap.
The U.S. added 288,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, exceeding analysts' estimates for a 215,000 increase. May numbers were also revised up to 224,000 from a previously reported 217,000. The unemployment rate fell to 6.1%. Economists expected the rate to remain steady at 6.3%.
The latest release paints a better-than-expected picture of the U.S. labor market. A day earlier, hopes were boosted after ADP data showed higher-than-expected payroll growth in the private employment sector, up 281,000 jobs in June from 180,000 in May and above economists' estimates of 205,000. The reading indicated companies had engaged in the most hiring in more than a year.
The U.S. international trade gap narrowed to $44.4 billion from $47.2 billion a month earlier. Economists had expected $45 billion.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.11% to 16,917, the S&P 500 gained 0.14% to 1,970.5, and the Nasdaq spiked 0.26% to 3,899.75.
Markets were little moved over Wednesday's session as Wall Street digested data on payrolls and factory orders. The Dow made moves higher, but is yet to hit the 17,000-level. However, as Wells Fargo analyst Scott L. Wren notes, this level is less important from a technical trading level and more of psychological significance.