NEW YORK - The dollar fell against other major currencies Friday after a crucial US August jobs report was much weaker than expected, stoking hopes for new Federal Reserve support of the economy.

The euro was at $1.2811 around 2100 GMT, up from $1.2629 at the same time Thursday. Earlier it hit $1.2818, its highest level since May 21 against the US unit. The euro surged against the Japanese currency, to 100.21 yen from 99.60 yen late Thursday. The dollar fell to 78.21 yen from 78.85 yen.

The greenback weakened after the US Labor Department reported Friday the United States added only 96,000 jobs in August, well below the 130,000 estimated. “The softer than expected US jobs data arguably boosts the chances of further Fed policy easing at the September meeting,” said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at Wells Fargo Bank.

The Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee opens a two-day meeting Wednesday with several options to support the economy, including a third round of quantitative easing (QE) bond purchases.

“The job report definitely missed market expectations. Most market participants are expecting some sort of announcement from the Fed next week” said David Song of Daily Forex.

But Wells Fargo’s Serebriakov cautioned that monetary easing may not come that swiftly.

“Acknowledging that September Fed easing is not yet a ‘done deal’ and, more importantly, the fact there is still significant European event risk in the weeks ahead, we believe the latest developments could be the trigger for a more sustained rally in global market sentiment and a period of renewed US dollar weakness,” he said.

The dollar slid to 0.9440 Swiss francs, from 0.9536 francs late Thursday, and the British pound rose to $1.6009 from $1.5931.