NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks turned positive by mid-morning Friday as a blowout nonfarm payrolls report reinforced views first-quarter softness was an aberration and not indicative of a fundamental slowdown in the U.S. economy. Gains were limited, though, as the jobs report heralded fears the Federal Reserve will feel more confident raising rates sooner than later.
The S&P 500 was up 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.05%, and the Nasdaq added 0.05%.
The U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs in May, the Labor Department said Friday, further proof a weak March number was an aberration in a soft first quarter. Economists had expected the economy to add 210,000 jobs in May. April's jobs number was revised down to 221,000 from 223,000.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5% from 5.4%. Hourly earnings rose 0.3% in May, adding to a 2.3% annual rate. The labor force participation rate increased to 62.9% from 62.8%.
The numbers were "certainly more supportive of the first quarter being an aberration than indicative of a slowing trend," said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank, in a call. "The numbers verify that there is growth out there and that the growth is firming ... That should hopefully bolster consumer confidence and have some follow-through into retail sales."