Initial claims for unemployment totaled 3.17 million for the week ended May 2, the Labor Department reported today. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected 3 million new claims for the week.
This week’s total was down from the 3.85 million initial claims filed in the prior week, but still brought the seven-week total to 33.5 million new claims.
Tomorrow, Friday, brings the April report on job created/lost in the U.S. economy. Economists are looking for the economy to have shed 21 million jobs in the month and predict that the official unemployment rate, at just 4.4% in March, could now be 16%to 20% in the April report.
Today’s bad news on new claims for unemployment includes reports that the jobless benefits funds in some states are running near empty. California and Tennessee, for example, say their funds are close to running out. Four million people have applied for unemployment in California. A million people have applied in North Carolina. That’s equal to 20% of the state’s workforce.
Wall Street continued its pattern for the last two months or so of looking past current bad news on the economy and remaining focused on projected future good news from the re-opening of the U.S. economy.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 1.66% as of 12:30 p.m. New York time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was ahead 1.49%. The NASDAQ Composite was higher by 1.68% and the Russell 2000 small cap index had gained 2.15%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) had gained 0.98%.
Gold was up 1.88% to $1720.30 an ounce. Silver was higher by 3.26% to $15.51 an ounce.
U.S. crude oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate had gained 4.88% to $25.16 a barrel. International benchmark Brent crude had climbed 2.32% to $30.41 a barrel.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury was 0.63%, and the yield on the 2-year Treasury was a scant 0.13%.