The S&P 500 and Nasdaq jumped to new record closing highs on Thursday as positive new job market data uplifted market sentiment as investors become less concerned with the Delta variant and turn their attention back to economic recovery.

The Labor Department's positive jobless claims report comes ahead of August's key jobs report, which is expected to guide the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision heading towards the year's end. Consensus economists expect the U.S. economy to add back 720,000 jobs in August, down from the 943,000 added back in July.

Here's how the market settled on Thursday:

S&P 500 Index (SPY  ): +0.28% or +12.86 points to 4,536.95

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA  ): +0.37% or +131.35 points to 35,443.88

Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ  ): +0.14% or +21.80 point s to 15,331.18

Walmart raises hourly wages for a third time this year:

Walmart (WMT  ) announced Thursday that the big box retailer will be raising the hourly wages for more than 565,000 retail employee by at least $1 ahead of the holiday shopping season.

U.S. Chief Executive John Furner said in a memo to staff that the new wage hikes make the third investment the retailer has made in salaries this past year as it works to attract talent among pandemic-induce labor market shortages. With the new wage increase, Walmart's U.S. average hourly wage is now $16.40, Furner said.

Apple relaxes App Store rules, boosting shares of Spotify, Netflix:

Shares of Spotify (SPOT  ), Netflix (NFLX  ) and Match Group (MTCH  ) all rose on Thursday following Apple's (AAPL  ) latest decision to all some apps to provide a link to their websites to prompt users to sign up for a subscription, thus bypassing Apple's App Store cut.

Previously, the tech giant had prohibited app makers on its App Store platform from directing users elsewhere to subscribe, instead requiring developers to use Apple's own billing system, which typically takes out a 15% to 30% cut of the gross sales.

However, despite the new relaxed policies, in-app purchases for games on the App Store will still be subject to Apple's payment system.

Jobless claims fall to fresh pandemic-era low:

Initial unemployment claims reached their lowest level since March 2020 last week, as the job market continues to improve from its pandemic-area lows amid rising labor market demand.

Weekly jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 28 totaled 340,000, according to the Labor Department's latest report published Thursday, falling below consensus economists expectations for 345,000 and the previous week's total of 354,000.

Moreover, continuing claims also reach a new pandemic-era low, coming in at 2.748 million for the week ended Aug. 21, a decrease of 160,000 from the previous week's revised level.

Here's how benchmarks started trading after market open:

S&P 500 Index: +0.22% or +10.11 points to 4,534.48

Dow Jones Industrial Average: +0.11% or +38.59 points to 35,353.06

Nasdaq Composite Index: +0.32% or +48.31 points to 15,358.47