Jobless Claims Fell to a 49-year Low, but the Dow Still Won’t Budge

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Illustration by Michael Haddad

9:35 a.m. The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance fell to its lowest level since 1969—but the Dow Jones Industrial Average still refuses to budge.

The Dow has risen 30.57 points, or 0.1%, to 26,187.73, while the S&P 500 has advanced 0.1% to 2891.81, and the Nasdaq Composite has ticked up 0.1% to 7971.39.

Jobless claims for the week ending April 6 fell to 196,000, below the 210,000 predicted by economists, the fewest since October 1969. “Bottom line, in a tight labor market employers continue to hold tight on to what they have,” writes Bleakley Advisory Group’s Peter Boockvar.

The news isn’t moving the market, however, likely because we already know the job market is tight, and that companies aren’t firing their employees. Job opening data, however, shows that there are fewer positions needing to be filled as well, suggesting that the market is that supply and demand for labor is constrained, and that is a sign of full employment.

No wonder the market refuses to budge.

Write to Ben Levisohn at Ben.Levisohn@barrons.com