Stocks fell sharply Friday after the release of a dismal report on job creation in the United States. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 200 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 1.5 percent in early 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.
A little more than an hour into trading, the Dow was down 215 points at 12,178, leaving it with a loss of 0.3 percent for the year. Earlier this year, the Dow was up more than 8 percent.
“The big worry now is that this economic slowdown is widening and accelerating,” said Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, a market research firm.
The weak jobs 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 Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 22 points at 1,287. The Nasdaq was off 52 at 2,775. Both of those indexes were still up for the year — about 2 percent for the S&P and 6 percent for the Nasdaq.