Dollar falls amid encouraging U.S. employment data

08:33, March 08, 2010      

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The U.S. dollar fell against most major currencies on Friday after a better-than-expected U.S. employment report boosted investors' risk appetite.

Non-farm payrolls fell 36,000 in February as another big drop in construction industry offset gains in private sector services and manufacturing, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent, while economists have expected a slight increase.

February's major snowstorms depressed employment, but probably less than feared, said analysts of IHS Global Insight. Overall, the storms may have cut 50,000 or so from payrolls, rather than the feared 100,000-150,000. The snowstorm effect did show up clearly in reduced hours worked, an effect that will be reversed in March.

The report suggests that the economy is on the verge of creating jobs, and that it will break through to sustained job creation beginning in March, analysts said.

The Greek parliament approved on Friday the second package of austerity measures intended to tackle the deep economic crisis. Although opposed by most public and private workers in Greece, the measures lifted market expectations that the debt-hit country could solve its fiscal problems.

The euro bought 1.3624 dollars in late New York trading compared with 1.3576 dollars it bought late Thursday. The pound rose to 1.5157 dollars from 1.5029 dollars.

The dollar fell slightly to 1.0295 Canadian dollars from 1.0312 Canadian dollars, and fell to 1.0742 Swiss francs from 1.0775 Swiss francs. It rose to 90.38 Japanese yen from 89.10 Japanese yen.

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