Wednesday 21 March 2018

US jobless claims breach forecasts

Timothy Homan

MORE Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign the labour market is struggling to gain momentum.

Jobless claims increased by 10,000 to 424,000 in the week ended May 21, Labor Department figures showed yesterday in Washington. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a drop to 404,000. The economy grew less than forecast in the first quarter, a separate report showed.

Consistent gains in hiring are needed to sustain consumer spending, which accounts for about 70pc of the world's largest economy. Federal Reserve officials said the jobless rate "remains elevated" at 9pc, one reason central bankers pledged last month to complete their asset-purchase plan by the end of June and keep borrowing costs near zero.

"Claims are still unfortunately seeing some upward pressure from state and local government job cuts," said Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial in Detroit.

The US economy, the world's largest, expanded at a 1.8pc annual rate in the first quarter, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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