NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The dollar firmed against major counterparts early Friday, after the governmnent reported the U.S. economy lost 159,000 jobs in September, while the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.1%. The dollar index , which measures the U.S. unit against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.3% at 80.785. Ahead of the data, it stood at 80.17, down from 80.535 late Thursday. While the number of lost jobs was more than the 110,000 jobs expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch, some in the market feared even worse numbers. Deutsche Bank economists Thursday expected the economy to have lost 250,000 jobs.