Saturday 24 February 2018

Sales surge fails to improve US jobless figures

US manufacturers are charging ahead as sales grow, spearheading a US economic recovery that shows scant signs of lifting labour markets.

Factory production climbed 0.9pc after rising 0.2pc in February, the Federal Reserve said yesterday.

Regional data indicated the gains extended into this month, while figures from the Labour Department showed unemployment claims climbed unexpectedly last week to the highest level in two months.

"Manufacturing is doing pretty well," said Michael Feroli, chief US economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co in New York.

"It is still very much in the lead. The labour market is a concern and a puzzle."

Stocks fluctuated between gains and losses as the increase in applications for jobless benefits restrained optimism over earnings and the economy.

Intel is among companies projecting that sales will keep climbing as businesses invest in new equipment and the global recovery gathers momentum. The Labour Department report showed the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefit rose by 24,000 to 484,000 in the week ended April 10.

A government spokesman said the jump had more to do with administrative factors reflecting volatility around the Easter holiday than economic reasons. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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