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Jobless claims hit a new pandemic low: Here's how the news could affect your money

Plus, what an "expense ratio" is and how it affects your portfolio.

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Stocks recover from losses, first-time unemployment claims hit another pandemic low, and how you can save more money for retirement. Here's how the headlines could affect your money.

Markets rebound from losses

Stocks rose Wednesday after dipping earlier in the week. The Dow, which had its worst performance since late March on Tuesday, climbed 0.9%. The S&P was also up by 0.9%, while the Nasdaq advanced 1.2%. Both the Dow and S&P are up 11% on the year.

The major indexes were mixed Thursday morning.

Despite economic optimism stemming from recent strong earnings results and positive jobless numbers, some investors are taking a cautious outlook: "It appears the economy is now well on its way to recovery," Scott Wren, Wells Fargo's senior global market strategist, said. "Still, earnings guidance early … appears to lean more conservative than our projections."

Jobless claims hit another pandemic low

For the second consecutive reporting period, fewer Americans headed to the unemployment line. First-time claims totaled just 547,000 for the week ending April 17. That's better than economists expected and an improvement from the prior week.

If you are looking for a new job, FlexJobs identified more than a dozen fields where openings have grown 10% or better since the start of the year, including project management, graphic design, and bookkeeping. 

It appears the economy is now well on its way to recovery.
Scott Wren
Wells Fargo

Retirement savings by state

Connecticut residents are best set up for retirement: The average resident has $523,568 stashed away in a 401(k) or IRA, according to data from wealth management platform Personal Capital. That's compared to the $407,500 national average. In Utah, for comparison, the typical balance is roughly $300,400.

The amount of money someone has earmarked for the future usually depends on how much money they earn and how much of it they can save, but certain geographical factors can play a role too. In many East Coast states, for example, residents can earn higher salaries but must account for a high cost of living. Another factor is varying state tax burdens. 

By making regular contributions over the course of your career, you harness the power of compound interest to help your money grow. "You have to start saving somewhere," says Christie Whitney, CFP, vice president of investment advice and director of planning at Rebalance.

"And starting small is OK! Anything is better than nothing," she says.

Words you've heard: expense ratio

An expense ratio helps cover the costs associated with running a mutual fund or ETF. It's expressed as a percentage of your investment. So an expense ratio of 1% means $10 of every $1,000 you invest goes to fund costs each year. 

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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