US stocks open higher with focus on Biden stimulus
Unemployment rate steady at 6.7% but figure higher for Black, Latina women, report says
US stocks opened higher Tuesday as investors focused on a potential bigger stimulus package from President-elect Joe Biden who will be sworn into office Wednesday.
The Dow Jones jumped 208 points to 31,022 at 9.35 a.m. EDT (1435GMT), while the S&P 500 rose 26 to 3,794.
The Nasdaq soared 131 to 13,130 points with tech stocks, including Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Tesla and Google's parent firm Alphabet each gaining more than 1%.
Biden is expected to ask Congress to approve a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, which focuses on unemployment, housing, education, and COVID-19 testing, to stimulate the US economy.
A second bill, expected in February, is planned to include broader measures, such as job creation, lowering unemployment and fighting racial inequality and climate change.
Despite the unemployment rate remaining unchanged at 6.7%, the US economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, while the private sector lost 123,000 jobs last month.
Since 22 million people in the world's largest economy lost jobs in March and April due to the pandemic, the unemployed figure stood at 10.7 million in December.
"All of the jobs lost were women’s jobs, with women losing 156,000 jobs and men gaining 16,000," the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) said in a report Jan. 8. "There were nearly 2.1 million fewer women in the labor force in December than there were in February, before the pandemic started.”
NWLC stressed that 154,000 Black women left the labor force last month, marking the largest one-month decline in that demographic since March and April 2020.
"The overall unemployment rate masks even higher rates for Black women, Latinas, and other demographic groups," it said.
"More than 2 in 5 of the 12.1 million women’s jobs lost between February and April have not yet returned," it added.
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