NEW YORK The biggest corporate hiring spree in five years ended a weeklong slide in the stock market.
The Labor Department reported Friday that private employers hired 268,000 people last month, the most since February 2006. Taking into account job cuts of government workers, the economy added a total of 244,000 jobs overall last month, well above the 185,000 jobs that analysts had predicted.
It was the third consecutive month with an increase of more than 200,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate rose, however, to 9.0 percent from 8.8 percent in part because more people who resumed looking for work.
The news on job growth helped lift the dollar, nudged up oil prices and reversed a four-day slump for stocks.
Everyone was a bit surprised by the jobs number, said Frank Fantozzi, the chief executive of Planned Financial Services, a Cleveland, Ohio-based firm. Its a good indication for the markets that we are still in the growth stage.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 54.57 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 12,638.74. The Standard & Poors 500 index rose 5.10, or 0.4 percent, to 1,340.20. The Nasdaq composite rose 12.84, or 0.5 percent, to 2,827.56.