Dow above 17,000 for first time

Unemployment rate down to 6.1%

NEW YORK (WWLP-AP) – The Dow Jones Industrial Average has hit a milestone; reaching 17,000 for the first time in its history, following positive news on jobs.

Just before 9:45 A.M., the Dow had reached 17,050, before coming back down a bit, but remaining well above 17,000.

A strong jobs report pushed up U.S. stock futures even before the market opened Thursday. The government said employers added 288,000 workers last month, lowering the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent.

A half hour before the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 34 points at 16,932. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures are up five points at 1,973, while Nasdaq 100 futures are up 13 points at 3,902.

The major indexes closed at their latest all-time highs Wednesday following more signs that the U.S. economy is picking up.

The S&P 500 is on track to end the holiday shortened week with a gain of 0.7 percent. The stock market closes at 1 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, ahead of Friday’s Independence Day holiday.

The Labor Department’s report showed much stronger hiring in June than economists had forecast. The government also revised numbers up from previous months, saying employers added 217,000 workers in May and 304,000 in April. Monthly job gains so far this year have averaged 230,833, up from 194,250 in 2013.

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