UPDATE: Unemployment Claims Drop to a Low Point As the Dow Continues Its Surge

March 7, 2013  |  

A line for an Oregon job fair. Image: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

New unemployment numbers were released this morning, showing that jobless claims have dropped to a six-week low of 340,000 for the week ending March 2. That’s a decrease of 7,000. Experts had expected an increase in the unemployment claims. For the past four weeks total, we’ve reached a five-year low.

Analysts speaking to Bloomberg attribute the decrease to a slowdown in layoffs, an increase in equipment purchasing by companies, and consistent spending by consumers, even with the higher payroll taxes that were reinstated January 1.

One piece of “meh” news: the number of people who continue to receive unemployment benefits through emergency or extended provisions rose by 225,400, bringing the total number to 1.78 million for the week ending February 16. Across the country, 37 states say unemployment claims decreased. The monthly jobs report is due tomorrow.

With this bit of positive news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average opened on a continued upswing. Despite the sequester, the Dow closed at a record high on Tuesday and trumped that again yesterday, closing at 14,296.24. The increase was due to a survey showing that the upcoming jobs numbers would be good. The winning streak shows no signs of stopping, exceeding 14,330 at the open this morning.

Despite all this seeming good news, ThinkProgress reports that the number of workers who’ve only managed to secure a part-time job reached an all-time high in February.They say that only 43.3 percent of workers have full-time jobs, while 20.6 percent are working part-time. I’d be curious to know how many workers are holding down multiple part-time jobs. In June 2011, The New York Times published a story about young people who are juggling multiple part-time jobs in an effort to pursue their career goals and make a living. Perhaps that’s still true for many.

UPDATE: Things are still looking good. The Dow broke another record, closing at 14,329.49, up another 35 points. The day was particularly good for financial institutions like Bank of America. Reuters has got the full story here.

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