U.S. stocks climbed to record levels yesterday after key companies reported strong earnings and fresh economic data pointed to a rebound in consumer spending.
Manufacturing remains a bright spot in the US economy as the Manufacturing gains in March were broad based. U.S. industrial production rose 1.4% in March, after a revised 2.6% fall in the prior month that was caused by severe winter weather. Production was held down by a steep decline in output from power utilities, as weather switched from unseasonably cold to unseasonably warm. Manufacturing output rose 2.7% in March after a 3.7% decline in the prior month.
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits tumbled last week to 576,000, a post-COVID low and a hopeful sign that layoffs are easing as the economy recovers from the recession. The Labor Department said that applications fell by 193,000 from 769,000 a week earlier. Jobless claims are now down sharply from a peak of 900,000 in early January. New jobless claims declined in Oregon, too, but at a much slower rate. Nearly 7,900 Oregonians filed new applications last week, down from more than 9,000 in each of the prior two weeks.