One of the major issues with the U.S. economy in recent years has been high unemployment and slow growth in jobs. This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the economy produced 155,000 new jobs in December, with the unemployment rate moving up to 7.8% versus the 7.7% originally reported for November. Although higher unemployment may sound bad, the number, in combination with job growth, shows that more people are getting back into the labor force. Still, in the broader context, December's numbers only affirmed the long-term sluggish trend of job growth, and it'll take accelerating employment going forward to get the economy moving at full speed. Partly because of that lackluster assessment, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) barely budged this morning, up about two points as of 10:55 a.m. EST.
Within the Dow, the biggest mover was Disney (NYSE:DIS), which rose 1.5%. With the company having finished its acquisition of Lucasfilm, investors are anxiously waiting to see how Disney will take advantage of its new content library, which boasts as its centerpiece the Star Wars franchise.
Outside the Dow, though, some stocks made much more substantial moves. DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS) surged 13% on a good day for shipping stocks across the board, while tanker operator Frontline (NYSE:FRO) also came through with a 12% gain. After the long-suffering industry took big losses in 2012, investors may see the potential for a rebound in the sector, where dry-bulk shipping rates have been stuck at rock-bottom levels for years. Eventually, the glut of vessels will give way to increased economic demand, and that should help surviving shippers climb back at least somewhat.
Finally, biotech favorite Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN) rose more than 5%. As Fool contributor Sean Williams described earlier this week, Dendreon has been working to make itself more financially efficient with layoffs and other cost-cutting measures, along with efforts to gain approval for its Provenge prostate cancer treatment in Europe and to get more insurers to cover the cost of the treatment.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney and Dendreon. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.