Stock futures climbed Friday morning after job additions in February supported the chances for a March rate hike next week.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.5%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 0.48%, and Nasdaq futures climbed 0.4%.
The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February, according to the Labor Department, topping analysts' estimates of 200,000. The unemployment rate dipped 100 basis points to 4.7%, as expected. Wages rose 0.2%, falling short of estimated growth of 0.3%. The January jobs number was revised up to 238,000 from 227,000, while December was cut to 155,000 from 157,000. Construction jobs saw their biggest increase since the financial crisis.
Economists had anticipated another month of robust job gains, particularly after an unofficial reading on private payrolls from ADP demolished expectations.
The February jobs report, which is the most scrutinized data point of any month, likely confirms expectations of an interest rate hike when the Federal Reserve meets next week. Solid job gains support the Fed's recent hawkish rhetoric and insistence that the U.S. economic recovery warrants more than one rate hike this year.
"With today's solid job gains, a March move by the Fed feels imminent," said Tara Sinclair, senior economic fellow at job site Indeed. "The Fed is focused on the aggregate numbers, which they see as strong enough to start normalizing interest rates, which are still very low within historical context. We have to look back over 10 years to see the last string of Federal Funds Rate increases -- a lot has changed in the economy since then, though monthly job gains look similar to that time at around an average of 180,000."