Economic Signals Mixed

April 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Commerce Department said orders for manufactured goods rose 1.8 percent in February, much higher than analysts expected. At the same time, unemployment numbers continue to rise.In Newark New Jersey, 2,000 thousand city workers are facing furloughs and pay cuts as the city tries to save their jobs. "It's going to affect my pocket. It's going to affect my bills. You know, I was just in the process of buying a house. That's not going to go through now," said Newark City worker Ronnie Figueroa.

It's a sign the economy has a long way to go before it recovers. Government numbers out today show Americans filing new jobless claims jumped to the highest rate in 26 years. Still, investors are optimistic about an economic turnaround.

The DOW was up more than 200 points in early trading, and there are signs of life in the housing market and car sales as well.

Thursday, discussing one of the biggest drains on the economy, the financial sector, the former C.E.O. of insurance giant AIG presented lawmakers with his plan for making sure taxpayers, who now own about 80 percent of the company, get their money back. "The evidence is overwhelming that the American taxpayer is an investor in a steadily diminishing asset," Former AIG C.E.O. Maurice Greenberg.

Analysts said the struggle for many looking for work may not end soon. But there are signs of hope.

Tracy Murphy just found a job at an Illinois casino. "I'm really excited, it'll get me out of the house, I'm really tired of drawing unemployment and getting nowhere, so it's nice to finally see a ray of light in this situation."

That ray of light is beginning to appear just as a new ABC News/Washington Post poll said six in ten Americans are under economic stress.

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