Thursday, June 30, 2011

US Jobless Claims Remain High

June 30, 2011 3:01 pm

US initial jobless claims fall slightly

By Shannon Bond in New York
Financial Times

US jobless claims fell slightly last week as the recovery in the labour market continued to stall and businesses braced for weaker demand.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance were down 1,000 to 428,000 in the week ending June 25, the labour department said. The decline was smaller than the 9,000 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected.

The four-week moving average of claims, a less volatile measure, was nearly unchanged, rising 500 to 426,750. Economists say that the rate of new claims needs to fall below 400,000 to support sustainable job growth and reduce the unemployment rate.

Claims have not come in below that level since the first week of April, as the wider economy has hit a soft patch.

Gross domestic product grew just 1.9 per cent in the first three months of the year, according to a report last week, while the Federal Reserve has pared its forecast for annual growth to under 3 per cent and raised its inflation expectations.

Consumer spending was flat in May as shoppers contended with rising prices, raising worries among businesses looking to pass on higher costs to their customers.

Thursday’s labour department report “reflects lingering softness in [the second quarter],” said Troy Davig, senior US economist at Barclays. “The job market is still going sideways.”

Analysts expect the government’s next reading of non-farm payrolls, due on Friday July 8, to show the economy created 90,000 new positions in June, nearly double the 54,000 jobs added in May.

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