Dow's 11,000 a Big Deal? Maybe Not

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WASHINGTON -- For the first time in a year and a half, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is over 11,000. And many analysts say the rally isn't over yet.

But does this move in the market really mean good news for the economy?

Don't Open the Champagne Yet

Monday's Wall Street close above 11,000 gave investors a bit of a mental boost with the hope that others will jump into investing in the market, looking to stocks as a sign the economy is on the rebound.

However, some market analysts say it's too soon to tell.

"It's not a leading indicator," said Chris Thornberg, founding principal of Beacon Economics. "In fact, I'm not sure the Dow is much of an indicator of anything at all."

Stocks have been on the rise this year because many investors expect the economy to shake off a weak job market.

According to the Department of Labor, employers added 162,000 jobs in March - the biggest gain in three years.

"Hours being worked per week by your average production worker is on its up; hiring and temporary employment is on its way up," Thornberg said. "These are all indicators that the labor market is going to strengthen over the course of this year."

In addition, consumer spending shows Americans are becoming less stingy with their money.

"The stock market can often be an indicator for the average American of how the economy is doing," ABC News Business Editor Charles Herman said. "I might be more willing to go out and spend some money. When they spend, that gets the economy going and employers hiring and the stock market going up even more."

Bumpy Road Ahead?

While these are all hopeful signs, plenty of economic potholes could make the terrain for recovery a bumpy ride.

Some of those economic snags include a troubled housing market with too many bad mortgages, too much government borrowing, and the fact that real personal income for most Americans is down 3.2 percent since President Obama took office.

Although most economists believe the great recession has ended, it's not official yet. Many economists believe that the recovery will be weaker than normal.

Even so, that isn't stopping the stock market from enjoying a strong rally that doesn't appear to be over yet.

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