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IRS will start issuing refund checks in May for $10,200 unemployment tax break: Here's how the headlines could affect your money

Plus, it's Financial Literacy Month.

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Markets mostly rose Wednesday. First-time jobless claims were up. And the IRS will start issuing tax refunds in May for Americans who didn't claim a break on their 2020 unemployment benefits. Plus, today marks the start of Financial Literacy Month. Here's how the news could affect your money.

Markets wrap up March gains

Stocks were mixed Wednesday. The Dow slipped 0.3%, while the S&P ended the session 0.4% higher and the Nasdaq climbed 1.5%. 

Both the Dow and S&P posted their best months since November, ending March up 6.6% and 4.3%, respectively. The Nasdaq gained 0.4% for the month.

The market was up Thursday morning, with the S&P crossing the 4,000 threshold for the first time.

Jobless claims worse than expected

First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 719,000 for the week ending March 27, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday. That's worse than analyst expectations of 675,000 and an increase from the prior week's figure of 658,000. 

Even so, analysts are optimistic that figures will improve. "We expect a sustained sharp decline in the second quarter as the economy reopens, making it easier for businesses under financial stress to hold onto employees," wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. 

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Video by Courtney Stith

Extra refund check coming in May for $10,200 unemployment tax break

The American Rescue Plan waives federal tax on unemployment benefits worth up to $10,200 per person in 2020. 

Americans who filed their 2020 tax returns before the stimulus package became law in mid-March can still take advantage. The IRS plans to automatically issue eligible filers an extra refund check. The agency said Wednesday it will start issuing those refunds in May

"Because the change occurred after some people filed their taxes, the IRS will take steps in the spring and summer to make the appropriate change to their return, which may result in a refund," the agency said. "The first refunds are expected to be made in May and will continue into the summer."

Words you've heard: financial literacy 

April is Financial Literacy Month. Financial literacy is the ability to acquire the right knowledge and skills you need to manage money effectively throughout your life.

For resources, check out our financial terms glossary of previous "Words you've heard," and follow the new CNBC + Acorns Instagram feed Money Word of the Day.

Although the daily news can have an impact on your wallet, remember to take a long-term outlook when it comes to decisions on spending, saving, and investing.

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