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April 5, 2013 at 12:32 PM
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U.S. jobs report hurts stocks

NEW YORK, April 5 (UPI) -- A report that showed only 88,000 U.S. jobs were added in March reversed the mood on Wall Street Friday, sending stocks downward.

Economists had expected 200,000 new jobs but the total turned out to be the lowest in 10 months. The jobless rate ticked down to 7.6 due to people dropping out of the workforce.

In late morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.8 percent, losing 116.37 points, to 14,489.74. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.94 percent, 14.67 points, to to 1,545.31. The Nasdaq composite index of tech-dominated stocks gave up 1.15 percent, 37.12 points, to 3,187.86.

The 10-year U.S. treasury note rose 21/32 to yield 1.694 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro was higher at $1.3028 from Thursday's $1.2936. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 96.89 yen from Thursday's 96.34 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 1.58 percent, 199.10 points, to 12,833.64.

Trade gap narrows by $1.5 billion

WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. trade deficit dropped modestly in February, sliding to $43 billion from $44.5 billion in January, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said.

The decrease of $1.5 billion included a gain of $1.6 billion in exports, which was slightly offset by a $0.1 billion increase in imports.

Economists had expected the trade gap to go the other way, predicting a slight gain.

Among major trading partners, the trade gap with China dropped from $27.8 billion in January to $23.4 billion in February.

With the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries the gap decreased from $6.4 billion to $3.6 billion.

The trade gap with the European Union rose from $8.6 billion to $8.8 billion, and with Japan it fell from $6.1 billion to $5.9 billion, the bureau said.

Unemployment ticks down to 7.6 percent

WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent in March on a gain of only 88,000 jobs, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The number of new jobs is the lowest in 10 months and less than half of what economists had predicted. The consensus forecast called for 200,000 new jobs.

The department said the number of unemployed people was little-changed at 11.7 million, but the declining unemployment rate with so few jobs created points out that many more people are giving up on finding a job than there are people finding one.

The size of the labor force declined by 496,000 in March. The labor force participation rate also slid, falling 0.2 percent to 63.3 percent.

The unemployment rate swells to 13.8 percent when "adults who are discouraged and quit looking for work and part-timers, preferring full-time positions" are taken into account, said Peter Morici, economics professor and columnist at the University of Maryland.

The department said the bulk of new jobs in March -- 51,000 of them -- were in professional and business services, which have added 533,000 jobs in 12 months.

The construction sector added 18,000 jobs in March while healthcare added 23,000, the department said.

The average workweek rose by 0.1 percent but the average workweek in manufacturing fell 0.1 percent.

Average houly earnings for all workers was up by 1 cent to $23.82, the report said.

Over 12 months, average hourly earnings have climbed 1.8 percent, a 42-cent gain.

Chinese tourists spend the most

UNITED NATIONS, April 5 (UPI) -- Chinese tourists are the world's biggest spenders, doling out $102 billion during their travels in 2012, a United Nations organization said Thursday.

The United Nations attributes China's rise to the top of the tourism pyramid to the Asian nation's rapid urbanization and rising disposable incomes.

The United Nations' World Tourism Organization said the number of international trips made by Chinese travelers grew from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012. Spending by Chinese tourists spiked by 40 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel and an appreciating Chinese currency contributed to the boom, the WTO said.

"With this sustained growth, China has become the largest spender in international tourism globally in 2012," the WTO said in a release.

As recently as 2005, China ranked seventh in international tourism expenditure. To get to the top spot, it overtook Italy, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States.

Germany and the United States spent close to $84 billion in 2012.

Russia is another fast-growing tourist nation, with a 32 percent increase in spending in 2012 to reach $43 billion. Brazil also experienced a significant increase, moving up from 29th in 2005 to 12th position.

"Emerging economies continue to lead growth in tourism demand," WTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said. "The impressive growth of tourism expenditure from China and Russia reflects the entry into the tourism market of a growing middle class from these countries, which will surely continue to change the map of world tourism."

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