Initial jobless claims totaled 2.98 million for the week ended May 9, the Labor Department reported today.
That’s down from last week’s 3.18 million claims and marks a sixth straight week of declines. But the figure was higher than the 2.5 million claims estimated by economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
This week’s initial claims number brings the total of new claims for unemployment since mid-March to 36.5 million. That’s roughly the level of all claims filed during the Great Recession. That downturn ran for 18 months, however.
The stock market wasn’t reacting strongly to the numbers or to the surprisingly high total.
As of noon New York time the Standard & Poor’s 500 was down 0.81% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.47%. The NASDAQ Composite was lower by 1.13% and the Russell 2000 small cap index continued to underperform with a drop of 2.14%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) was down 1.21%. Brazil continued to lead the emerging markets sector lower with the iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ) down 1.73%.
The tech stocks that led the last rally and that I’m watching as an indicator of whether or not the trend has indeed reversed were lower with Microsoft (MSFT) down 1.95%; Apple (AAPL) sliding by 1.31%; Facebook (FB) dropping 1.26%; and Amazon (AMZZN) slipping just 0.32%.