The number of unemployed workers seeking benefits this week dropped, and exchange traded funds (ETFs) like it. It’s the fourth straight drop in such claims and it’s a sign that the job market is slowly marching toward some semblance of health.

High unemployment has been a thorn in the economy’s side, but if the number of jobless claims continues to decline, we could soon be looking at job creation. Many economists expect this to happen as soon as March. Once the job market recovers, it’s natural to believe that other areas will begin to show signs of strong improvement, as well. Namely, consumer spending. Once we stop being so afraid of losing our jobs, we should begin to spend more freely. Vanguard Consumer Discretionary (NYSEArca: VCR) is up 1.2% this morning. [5 ETFs to Play the New Retail Climate.]

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed the House Financial Services Committee this morning, largely repeating what he said to the panel in February. The central bank continues to feel that the United States needs an “accommodative” economic policy and credit will be tightened “at the appropriate time.” Loose monetary policy may continue to keep the U.S. dollar at weakened levels. PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bearish (NYSEArca: UDN) is up slightly this morning. [How to Play Currency ETFs While Greece Awaits a Fix.]

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has surged to an 18-month high this morning on the twin optimistic reports. SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEArca: DIA) is up nearly 1% this morning.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.