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Jobless claims reach pandemic low, markets slip from record highs: Here's how the headlines could affect your money

Plus, how to get your tax questions answered without calling the IRS.

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The markets take a breather, first-time jobless claims hit a pandemic low, and taxpayers are struggling with slammed IRS phone lines. Here's how the news could affect your money.

Markets hit record high, then dip

Stocks took a breather on Wednesday. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% from a record high earlier in the session, and the Nasdaq dipped by 1%. The Dow, however, gained 0.2%.

Markets were up on Thursday morning, following better-than-expected March inflation numbers – and despite news of a temporary halt in Johnson & Johnson's vaccine distribution.

Jobless claims hit pandemic low

First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled just 576,000 for the week ending April 10, a pandemic-era low. Analysts had been expecting 700,000 claims this week, in line with the prior week's figure of 769,000. 

The Commerce Department reported a similarly positive trend in retail sales, which increased 9.8% in March after a 3% dip in February. That's likely thanks to the latest round of stimulus checks, as well as the increase in vaccinated consumers returning to stores.

There's also some good news for job seekers: The pace of new job openings hit a high in February, jumping 5% year over year, according to the Labor Department. 

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Get your tax questions answered without calling the IRS

As the May 17 tax filing deadline nears, the IRS was receiving as many as 1,500 calls per second, according to Commissioner Charles Rettig. Rather than wait on hold, consider visiting the IRS website to track down your tax refund, stimulus check, or prior tax returns

Reaching out to an expert can help, too, says CPA Brandon Berquist at Personal Capital: "A certified tax professional will not only help you prepare your taxes, but will also provide guidance on when and how to file, and can help you ensure tax efficiency going forward."

Words you've heard: tax credit

A tax credit is an amount you can subtract from the total tax you owe. Millions of parents will receive Child Tax Credit payments of up to $3,600 starting in July as part of the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Joe Biden in March. 

To find out much money you could get under the new rules, check out Grow's Child Tax Credit calculator.

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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