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Initial claims for unemployment in regular state-run unemployment programs fell to 576,000, the Labor Department reported today, April 15. That’s a pandemic low and a drop of 193,000 from the surprise spike in initial claims in the preceding week.

Economists had projected 710,000 fresh claims for the week ending April 10. At 576,000 new claims sit at their lowest level since March 2020, before measures intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus took full effect.

An additional 131,975 workers filed new claims under the federal government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for gig workers and the self-employed who don’t qualify for regular state unemployment programs.

At the close today, the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 1.11% to another all time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.90% to another all time high. The NASDAQ Composite finished the day 1.31% higher; the BIG TECH dominated NASDAQ 100 closed ahead 1.61%. The small cap Russell 2000 index climbed 0.38% on the day.