U.S. stock index futures edged higher Thursday following a pair of positive employment data and as the East Coast continued to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 363,000 in the previous week, according to the Labor Department. Economists polled by Reuters expected claims to rise to 370,000. Meanwhile, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. did not turn in data due to hurricane Sandy. As a result, the Labor Department estimated results for the state and for the nation's capital.
The private sector added a better-than-expected 158,000 jobs in October, according to the first report employment data firm ADP released since it changed its methodology. Economists had forecast October's report would show a gain of 135,000 jobs, according to a Reuters poll.
Investors will be looking ahead to the nonfarm payrolls data, which will be reported on Friday, as scheduled. The monthly government jobs report, which is expected to show 125,000 jobs added in October, will be the last before the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Meanwhile, non-farm productivity increased 1.9 percent in the third-quarter, according to the Labor Department, edging past estimates for a 1.6 percent gain.