You are here: Home » International » News » Economy
Business Standard

US jobless claims fall as unemployment tumbles to 28-year low

Raft of upbeat economic data support an interest rate hike next month

Reuters  |  Washington 

Job, unemployment, Hiring
A job seeker holds a "We're Hiring" card while talking to a representative from Target at a City of Boston Neighborhood Career Fair on May Day in Boston, Massachusetts, US

New applications for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week and the number of Americans on rolls tumbled to a 28-1/2-year low, pointing to rapidly shrinking labor market slack.

The economy's brightening prospects were further boosted by other data on Thursday showing a sharp acceleration in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region this month.

While the raft of upbeat economic data support an interest rate hike next month, the Federal Reserve's decision will also hinge on the state of financial markets, which have been rattled in recent days by Trump administration scandals.

Initial claims for state benefits decreased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 232,000 for the week ended May 13, the Labor Department said. That pushed claims close to levels last seen in 1973.

Claims have now decreased for three consecutive weeks. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 240,000.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 115 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller. The labor market is close to full employment, with the rate at a 10-year low of 4.4 per cent.

The number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 22,000 to 1.90 million in the week ended May 6, the lowest level since November 1988.

Last week's claims data covered the survey week for May's nonfarm payrolls. Claims fell 11,000 between the April and May survey periods suggesting further job gains this month. The created 211,000 jobs in April after adding only 79,000 positions in March.

RATE HIKE ODDS FALL

Labor market strength and tightening could allow the Fed to raise rates at its June 13-14 policy meeting. The central bank raised rates in March and has signaled two more rate hikes in 2017.

Data such as retail sales and industrial production, which suggested economic growth picked up early in the second quarter after rising at an anemic 0.7 per cent annualized rate in the first quarter, also have supported expectations of a rate hike.

But a sell-off amid uncertainty over President Donald Trump's political future could jeopardize further monetary policy tightening.

Financial markets are pricing in a 60 per cent chance of a 25-basis-point hike at the Fed's June meeting, down from 78.5 per cent on Tuesday, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.

The U.S. rose against a basket of currencies after the data while short-term interest rates futures turned lower. stock index futures were mostly weaker. Prices of Treasuries were trading lower.

In a separate report the Philadelphia Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region jumped to a reading of 38.8 this month from 22.0 in April. The index recovered some of the declines of the previous two months.

The current new orders and shipments indexes remained at high readings, the survey showed. Both the delivery times and unfilled orders indexes were positive for the seventh straight month, suggesting longer delivery times and increases in unfilled orders.

Firms reported an increase in manufacturing employment this month, though the current employment index fell three points.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

US jobless claims fall as unemployment tumbles to 28-year low

Raft of upbeat economic data support an interest rate hike next month

Raft of upbeat economic data support an interest rate hike next month

New applications for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week and the number of Americans on rolls tumbled to a 28-1/2-year low, pointing to rapidly shrinking labor market slack.

The economy's brightening prospects were further boosted by other data on Thursday showing a sharp acceleration in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region this month.

While the raft of upbeat economic data support an interest rate hike next month, the Federal Reserve's decision will also hinge on the state of financial markets, which have been rattled in recent days by Trump administration scandals.

Initial claims for state benefits decreased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 232,000 for the week ended May 13, the Labor Department said. That pushed claims close to levels last seen in 1973.

Claims have now decreased for three consecutive weeks. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 240,000.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 115 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller. The labor market is close to full employment, with the rate at a 10-year low of 4.4 per cent.

The number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 22,000 to 1.90 million in the week ended May 6, the lowest level since November 1988.

Last week's claims data covered the survey week for May's nonfarm payrolls. Claims fell 11,000 between the April and May survey periods suggesting further job gains this month. The created 211,000 jobs in April after adding only 79,000 positions in March.

RATE HIKE ODDS FALL

Labor market strength and tightening could allow the Fed to raise rates at its June 13-14 policy meeting. The central bank raised rates in March and has signaled two more rate hikes in 2017.

Data such as retail sales and industrial production, which suggested economic growth picked up early in the second quarter after rising at an anemic 0.7 per cent annualized rate in the first quarter, also have supported expectations of a rate hike.

But a sell-off amid uncertainty over President Donald Trump's political future could jeopardize further monetary policy tightening.

Financial markets are pricing in a 60 per cent chance of a 25-basis-point hike at the Fed's June meeting, down from 78.5 per cent on Tuesday, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.

The U.S. rose against a basket of currencies after the data while short-term interest rates futures turned lower. stock index futures were mostly weaker. Prices of Treasuries were trading lower.

In a separate report the Philadelphia Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region jumped to a reading of 38.8 this month from 22.0 in April. The index recovered some of the declines of the previous two months.

The current new orders and shipments indexes remained at high readings, the survey showed. Both the delivery times and unfilled orders indexes were positive for the seventh straight month, suggesting longer delivery times and increases in unfilled orders.

Firms reported an increase in manufacturing employment this month, though the current employment index fell three points.

image
Business Standard
177 22

US jobless claims fall as unemployment tumbles to 28-year low

Raft of upbeat economic data support an interest rate hike next month

New applications for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week and the number of Americans on rolls tumbled to a 28-1/2-year low, pointing to rapidly shrinking labor market slack.

The economy's brightening prospects were further boosted by other data on Thursday showing a sharp acceleration in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region this month.

While the raft of upbeat economic data support an interest rate hike next month, the Federal Reserve's decision will also hinge on the state of financial markets, which have been rattled in recent days by Trump administration scandals.

Initial claims for state benefits decreased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 232,000 for the week ended May 13, the Labor Department said. That pushed claims close to levels last seen in 1973.

Claims have now decreased for three consecutive weeks. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 240,000.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 115 straight weeks. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was smaller. The labor market is close to full employment, with the rate at a 10-year low of 4.4 per cent.

The number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 22,000 to 1.90 million in the week ended May 6, the lowest level since November 1988.

Last week's claims data covered the survey week for May's nonfarm payrolls. Claims fell 11,000 between the April and May survey periods suggesting further job gains this month. The created 211,000 jobs in April after adding only 79,000 positions in March.

RATE HIKE ODDS FALL

Labor market strength and tightening could allow the Fed to raise rates at its June 13-14 policy meeting. The central bank raised rates in March and has signaled two more rate hikes in 2017.

Data such as retail sales and industrial production, which suggested economic growth picked up early in the second quarter after rising at an anemic 0.7 per cent annualized rate in the first quarter, also have supported expectations of a rate hike.

But a sell-off amid uncertainty over President Donald Trump's political future could jeopardize further monetary policy tightening.

Financial markets are pricing in a 60 per cent chance of a 25-basis-point hike at the Fed's June meeting, down from 78.5 per cent on Tuesday, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.

The U.S. rose against a basket of currencies after the data while short-term interest rates futures turned lower. stock index futures were mostly weaker. Prices of Treasuries were trading lower.

In a separate report the Philadelphia Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region jumped to a reading of 38.8 this month from 22.0 in April. The index recovered some of the declines of the previous two months.

The current new orders and shipments indexes remained at high readings, the survey showed. Both the delivery times and unfilled orders indexes were positive for the seventh straight month, suggesting longer delivery times and increases in unfilled orders.

Firms reported an increase in manufacturing employment this month, though the current employment index fell three points.

image
Business Standard
177 22