NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were caught in a tug-of-war on Friday as optimists and pessimists debated whether a blowout nonfarm payrolls report was a good thing or not.
The S&P 500 was down 0.15%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.31%, while the Nasdaq rose 0.18%. All benchmark indexes closed with weekly losses with the S&P 500 down 0.69% and the Dow down 0.89%.
For economists, the jobs report reinforced views first-quarter softness was an aberration and not indicative of a fundamental slowdown in the U.S. economy. On the other hand, the jobs report heralded fears the Federal Reserve will feel more confident raising rates sooner than later. Click here for more.
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."
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. Click here for more (payroll).
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%.