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The number of people who applied last week for new unemployment benefits touched the lowest level since January 2008, falling by 18,000 to 324,000, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected claims to rise to a seasonally adjusted 345,000 in the week ended April 27 from a revised 342,000 in the prior week.
The average of new claims over the past month, which smoothes out weekly volatility, dropped by 16,000 to 342,250. That's the lowest level in six weeks.
The government said there were no usual factors in the latest claims report. Claims often seesaw in the month after Easter because of seasonal quirks, but the effects usually fade by early May. Meanwhile, the government said continuing claims increased by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.02 million in the week ended April 20.
Sure, there was the 14,000 increase in initial jobless claims, and maybe that’s bad news — it could well suggest that perhaps the strong early start to the year has faded, as was the case for the two years prior — but it could well just be some holiday-related distortion. It’s too early to tell.
The number of people who applied last week for new unemployment benefits touched the lowest level since January 2008, falling by 18,000
I don't know anyone who is unemployed.
"The government said there were no usual factors in the latest claims report." Well as long as there are no "usual" factors, they must be all unusual factors. In other words, 100% BS!
“Stocks are certainly responding to additional global-central-bank easing trends, and the additional tough talk from (EBC President) Mario Draghi that they’ll keep rates low as long as they need to,” said Jim Russell, senior equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Cincinnati. “The jobless claims numbers were encouraging, especially in that we’re very hopeful that maybe we can beat the consensus” in Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report, Russell added.
On Friday, the government will release nonfarm payrolls for April, with the report expected to show the unemployment rate stayed at 7.6% and the economy created 135,000 jobs after a rise of 88,000 in payrolls the month before. Other reports Thursday had the productivity of American workers rising in the first quarter and the U.S. trade deficit narrowing in March.
The strong signs of growth in America's economy were enough to power oil higher, moving the price of a barrel of crude up $1.62 in New York to $95.61.
That spread some of the gains to Toronto, where the stock market depends heavily on commodities. The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,438, up about 58 points.
"We're breaking through psychological barriers and that will continue to bring investors off the sidelines," said Darrell Cronk, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.
The loonie gained about a fifth of a cent, closing at 99.23 cents US.
n April, companies hired 165,000 more workers, but they cut everyone’s hours (on average) by 12 minutes. That doesn’t sound like much of a decline, but spread out over the 135 million-strong work force, the decline in hours worked is the equivalent of firing more than 500,000 workers while keeping hours steady.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Unfortunately, you've grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They'll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can't be trusted.
We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems. We shouldn't want to. But we don't think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. And as citizens, we understand that it's not about what America can do for us, it's about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.