Wall Street jumped at the open on Thursday (March 26), building on a two-day rally, as investors bet on more stimulus measures after the U.S. jobless claims surged past 3 million last week, underscoring the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 267.83 points, or 1.26%, at the open to 21,468.38. The S&P 500 opened higher by 25.73 points, or 1.04%, at 2,501.29, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 77.91 points, or 1.06%, to 7,462.21 at the opening bell.
The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to a record of more than 3 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt, unleashing a wave of layoffs that likely brought an end to the longest employment boom in U.S. history.
The weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department on Thursday offered the clearest evidence yet of the coronavirus’ devastating impact on the economy, which has forced the Federal Reserve to take extraordinary steps and the U.S. Congress to assemble a record $2 trillion stimulus package.
Economists say the economy is already in recession. Weekly claims are the most timely labor market indicator.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose 3,001,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.28 million in the week ending March 21, eclipsing the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982, the Labor Department said.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 1 million, though estimates were as high as 4 million.
(Production: Soren Larson)