Dec 02, 2011 NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Copper futures held in positive territory on Friday after an unexpected drop in the U.S. unemployment rate supported the demand outlook for the industrial metal.
Copper is sensitive to such economic data because of its widespread uses in construction and manufacturing, and the struggling labor market has long been a drag on the world's largest economy.
Private employers continued to add jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since March 2009, the Labor Department said Friday in a monthly report.
Private companies added 140,000 jobs, while government employment dropped by 20,000 jobs, for a net gain of 120,000, near economists expectations.
The most actively traded copper contract, for March delivery, recently traded up 7.75 cents, or 2.2%, at $3.6115 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures spiked as high as $3.6335 a pound after the jobs report before paring those gains.
Copper had traded higher ahead of the jobs report, buoyed by gains in European equities markets and a weaker dollar. A declining dollar can boost copper and other dollar-denominated commodities by making them appear cheaper for buyers using other currencies.