Stocks fell sharply Friday after the release of a dismal report on job creation in the United States. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 180 points, erasing what was left of its gain for the year.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq composite index both fell more than 1 percent in the opening minutes of trading.
American employers added just 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent. Economists had forecast a gain of 158,000 jobs.
The weak report sent traders stampeding into U.S. government bonds as a safe investment. Bond prices rose sharply, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.46 percent, the lowest on record.
The price of gold also shot higher. It rose $37 an ounce to $1,601. For much of the past three years, investors have bought gold for safety during a turbulent time for the world economy.
Stocks fell broadly. Energy companies and financial stocks led the market lower.
The job picture also darkened elsewhere in the world. Unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro currency remained at a record-high 11 percent in April, and unemployment rose spiked to almost 25 percent in Spain.
There were also signs that growth China, which was a bulwark during the global recession, is slowing significantly. China’s manufacturing weakened in May, according to surveys released Friday.
Stocks were down considerably in Europe. The benchmark stock index fell more than 3 percent in Germany and Greece and more than 2 percent in France. British stocks were down but fared slightly better.