News Column

Job News Boosts Markets

May 4, 2013
job news, markets

A largely positive U.S. jobs report sent the stock market soaring as the Dow Jones industrial average traded above 15,000 for the first time before closing just below the mark and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at a record 1,614.

"The Dow was at 14,000 in March. It's more than doubled since early 2009," said Paul Edelstein of IHS Global Insight.

"Investors seem to have more confidence," Alan Clayton-Matthews, an associate professor of economics and public policy at Northeastern University, told the Herald. "And the Federal Reserve made interest rates so low that if you put your savings in the bank, it won't earn much. The only place to put (your savings) is in commodities like gold or equities like stock. It seems like a pretty safe bet because businesses are doing well and profits are high."

The nation added 165,000 jobs in April, with increases reported in professional and business services, food services and drinking establishments, retail trade and health care, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"It's an improvement from what many people were expecting," said Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. "I'd still like to see better improvement than what we've seen to date."

The number of unemployed Americans last month -- 11.7 million, or 7.5 percent of the work force -- ticked down a tenth of a percent from March and has declined by 673,000, or 0.4 percent, since January.

Another bright spot: Due to revisions of earlier estimates, employment gains in February and March combined were 114,000 higher than previously reported, federal data shows. Also, the number of people not looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them decreased by 133,000 from a year earlier to 835,000 last month.

"Overall, April's job report was consistent with the stubbornly slow pace of economic growth the nation has been experiencing this year, but with a few silver linings," said Michael D. Goodman, associate professor and public policy department chairman at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. "These include strong upward revisions to the February and March data that suggest that the employment recovery is continuing, albeit not fast enough to be much consolation for the more than 4 million American workers who have been unemployed for over 26 weeks."

And the jobs people are getting may not be the ones they want. The number of involuntary part-time workers, for example, increased in April by 278,000 to 7.9 million, largely offsetting a decrease in March.

Ira Kantor contributed to this report.


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Source: Copyright Boston Herald (MA) 2013

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