U.S. stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) edged higher in morning trading and got a boost from overseas markets despite a discouraging job report that showed an unexpected rise in claims.

The Labor Department reported that new claims for unemployment benefits jumped unexpectedly to 576,000 last week, a jump from the 561,000 witnessed last week and much higher than the 550,000 anticipated by economists.  Although the pace of layoffs has slowed, unemployment remains high and continues to hinder the economic recovery.

Transportation officials are getting ready to wind down the “Cash for Clunkers” program as the program is on pace to exhaust its $3 billion in funds by early September.  The announcement of when the program will end may be made as early as tomorrow as officials discuss how the program should end and how to deal with a backlog of rebate payments to dealers.

But to replace “Cash for Clunkers” could be another government program that would offer rebates to consumers who purchase new energy-efficient appliances. The program would give as much as $200 back to consumers, Marketplace reports.