Stocks Mixed after Unemployment Rate Stays High

By DANIEL WAGNER | October 7, 2011 | 11:50 AM EDT

In this Oct. 4, 2011 photo, trader Jason Weisberg works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchang. Investors were cautious on Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, ahead of U.S. jobs figures, with stocks down slightly after enjoying a couple of bumper days on hopes of a Europe-wide plan to fix the banking sector.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Stocks are barely changed at midday after a small pickup in hiring last month failed to bring down the unemployment rate.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added 103,000 jobs last month, about double what economists had expected. It was not enough to keep up with population growth or reduce the 9.1-percent unemployment rate.

Economists said the report soothed short-term fears that the U.S. could be entering another recession. However it offered few signs that strong growth will return soon.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up, while broader market indexes lost ground.

The Dow is up 39 points, or 0.4 percent, at 11,162 just before midday. The S&P 500 is down 2, or 0.2 percent, at 1,163. The Nasdaq is down 20, or 0.8 percent, at 2,487.