It's a Banner Day for Economy So Far

Retails sales surge, jobless claims reach pandemic low, and stocks reach record highs
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2021 9:10 AM CDT
It's a Banner Day for Economy So Far
A salesperson helps a customer shopping for boots at the LL Bean flagship retail store in Freeport, Maine.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Thursday is starting out as a strong day for the economy:

  • Consumers: Retail spending surged almost 10% in March thanks to factors including stimulus checks to households, warmer weather, and an increased reopening of businesses, reports the Wall Street Journal. The spike, detailed in a new Commerce Department report, follows a 2.7% decline in February. Spending was up in particular for bars, restaurants, electronics, and sporting goods, at both online stores and physical ones. Auto dealers also saw strong sales.

  • Jobs: The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week fell from 769,000 to 576,000, per the AP. The new figure is the lowest weekly figure since the pandemic began. Jobless claims rose to 900,000 in January and had been mired at a level of 700,000-plus for months.
  • Stocks: All of the above is translating to records on Wall Street. The "blowout" economic data, plus strong earnings at banks and other companies, led the Dow to rise more than 230 points (0.7%) in early trading to a record high, per CNBC. The benchmark S&P 500 also was up 0.7% to a record of its own, and the Nasdaq rose 1%.
(More economy stories.)

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