Stocks rise as unemployment claims fall

The U.S. stock market advanced this morning after national unemployment claims fell close to their lowest level in six years in August and a new data that showed economic growth accelerated in the third quarter.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index had dropped for five straight days through Wednesday, its longest losing streak this year, because of the potential for a government shut down as the Obama administration and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives square off in a budget fight.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 305,000, the U.S. Labor Department said today. Steady declines in applications indicate that fewer companies are laying off workers.

National economic growth accelerated to a 2.5 percent annual rate from April through June, the Commerce department said today. The economy grew 1.1 percent growth in the January-March quarter.

The Wisconsin seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped in August to 6.7 percent from 6.8 percent in July.

Wisconsin added 24,305 private-sector jobs in the 12 months from March 2012 to March 2013, representing a 1.1 percent increase in employment, according to the Department of Labor.

However, Wisconsin ranked 34th nationally in the pace of private sector job creation in the past year and 37th over the past two years, according to the data.

The U.S. grew private-sector jobs at a rate of 2.0 percent in the latest 12-month period, nearly twice the rate of Wisconsin’s 1.1%, the data show.

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