Positive US jobless numbers surprise boosts the dollar
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, pointing to sustained strength in the labour market despite a sharp slowdown in hiring last month.
Other data yesterday showed wholesale inventories recorded their biggest increase in 10 months in April, which is expected to boost second-quarter economic growth.
That rise came even as sales at wholesalers rose for a second straight month.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000 for the week ended June 4, the US Labor Department said.
"Firms do not appear to be shedding labour. We expect hiring activity to resume in the coming weeks and lead an overall rebound in net employment growth," said Jesse Hurwitz, an economist at Barclays in New York.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast initial claims rising to 270,000 in the latest week. Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strong job market, for 66 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1973.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 7,500 to 269,500 last week.
The dollar held earlier gains versus a basket of currencies after the data, while prices for US Treasuries rose. US stocks were trading lower. The number of Americans still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped in the week ending May 28 to the lowest level since October 2000.
The insured unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point to a record low of 1.5pc. (Reuters)