Nightly News | January 31, 2013
>>> dow was up almost 6%, the best since january in '94. nasdaq gabd 4%, s&p just over 6. its best january since '97. what is the market surge trying to tell us when mixed in with some bad news out there, as well? and on the eve of another big jobs report? our report from nbc's tom costello.
>> reporter: 25-year-old kory wilson can tell you, it's not easy looking for a job. she has applied for 200 since earning a masters degree in public relations last may of the.
>> being a post graduate, either i'm overqualified or i'm underqualified.
>> she is looking for work, but the economy seemingly poised to either take off or take a stumb stumble. today new applications brought employment benefits jumped by 38,000. but they hit five year lose the previous two weeks. personal income and spending both grew in december. the housing market seems to be improving, and while the economy actually shrank in the fourth quarter, many blame government spending cuts and the fiscal cliff stalemate.
>> we have removed the financial panic and now we're waiting to kind of take a look at the dust and see how it's settled and see how much destruction there's really been.
>> reporter: through it all, wall street has been on a tear. up nearly 6% this month. meanwhile, on main street --
>> i'm filling up once a week so $50 a week, $200 a month.
>> gas prices are headed north.
>> i need a new car. it's breaking me. it's ridiculous.
>> reporter: the national average is now $3.42 a gallon, up ten cents in just a week and about where it was a year ago. california, the great lakes and the east coast are paying the most. analysts blame refinery slow downs.
>> this is one of the quickest, largest increases we have seen for this time of year. that we have ever seen.
>> reporter: all of this sets the stage for tomorrow's jobs report and one of the first real reads on the state of the economy in 2013 . tom costello, nbc news, washington.