Stock market climbs as jobless claims are reduced

U.S. Dime

Fewer people are asking for a spare dime, as new jobless claims have fallen over the last week. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

For the first time in weeks, the number of new jobless claims has sharply dropped. The last six months have been somewhat dismal for employment, though temporary boosts were provided by seasonal employment around the holidays and the U.S. census. That is some good news on that front, though housing remains abysmal. However, the news is a nearly Pyrrhic victory, as unemployment has held somewhat steadily since November of 2009. As word of the mild respite broke, stock markets were given a slight boost.

Drop in new jobless claims

A drop was recorded in the number of new claims for unemployment benefits by the Department of Labor. The number of jobless claims still sits, adjusted seasonally, at 473,000, but that number dropped by 31,000 over the last week. A drop in new unemployment claims is encouraging, but the average of the last four weeks is still 486,750, the highest levels since November 2009, according to Forbes. That said, winter jobless claims have to be taken with a grain of salt, as holiday seasonal employment provides a slight spike for the busiest part of the retail year. The U.S. Census also employed a fair amount of people seasonally.

Jobless claims spur stock market climb

The news of lower jobless claims led to an uptick in the stock market, according to the Wall Street Journal. The uptick was modest at best; the greatest gain was a 0.3 percent boost for Standard & Poor’s. The Nasdaq climbed only 0.2 percent, and the Dow Jones managed a paltry 0.1 percent gain. However, the big news is less the fall in unemployment claims, but the activity concerning 3Par and Dell, as Dell has acquired the data storage company. A bidding war between Dell and Hewlett-Packard for 3 Par has been the huge story on Wall Street over the last week, after last week’s rampant coverage of Potash Corp.

Not even close to out of the woods

This is not really an indicator of much in the way of unemployment radically decreasing. Fewer employers are currently hiring. The real estate market has been nothing short of dismal, and it is estimated that 10 percent of all homeowners are at risk of foreclosure.

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