ETFs Climb Back From Jobless Record Low With Help From Oil Markets

Equities were initially hammered on the new jobs data that came out Thursday, but have since bounced back some with the help from crude oil, which rallied as much as 35% off its lows near $20 on news that Saudis and Russia will mitigate pressure on oil, terminating a price war that has contributed to crude’s incredible crash.

After a monster jobless number last week of more than 3.3 million, the headline jobless claims number for the week ended March 28 of 6.6 million doubled the prior week record. American workers continue to be plagued by the coronavirus and are stampeding for unemployment benefits as the spread of the coronavirus compels state governments to close most businesses and keep residents under stay-at-home orders.

The latest two tallies from the Labor Department destroyed the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the previous all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982.

Claims for state unemployment benefits were the heaviest in Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington state and Massachusetts with claims of 73, 62, 50, 47 and 47 per 1,000 workers, respectively. The data is for jobless filings through the end of last week.

Those were the states that saw the most explosive builds in claims when regulating the differences in the size of each state’s labor force.

Nevada, New Jersey, California and Vermont also saw some of the most intense increases in unemployment filings, according to the unadjusted Labor Department data.

“The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims. Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus,” the government said.

“States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries,” the Labor Department added. “Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.”

Stocks were initially upset by the data, with investors and traders selling off the S&P 500 by more than 70 points on the news. The other indices followed suit. But after an explosion in oil prices, markets rallied back up into the middle of Wednesday’s range.

Stock index ETFs are up on the day with the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) climbing back 1.86%, the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) rallying 1.66%, and the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) 1.58% higher as of roughly 1PM EST.

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