US Claims Unexpectedly Falls

Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign the labor market may keep improving after employment picked up in July.

Jobless claims unexpectedly dropped by 6,000 to 361,000 in the week ended Aug. 4, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 43 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for an increase to 370,000. A spokesman for the agency said there was nothing unusual in the data.

Fewer firings mean employers are seeing enough demand to retain staff, indicating the world’s largest economy is sustaining the recovery from the recession. Labor Department data last week showed payrolls rose more than forecast in July.

“The labor market is slowly but steadily improving despite all the uncertainty created by the European financial problems, the election and the fiscal cliff,” Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “There is no reason to think that job payroll increase posted in July cannot be duplicated in the months to come.”

Stock-index futures trimmed losses after the figures. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in September dropped 0.1 percent to 1,396.9 at 8:33 a.m. in New York, after falling as much as 0.3 percent.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 359,000 to 385,000. The Labor Department revised the previous week’s figure up to 367,000 from an initially reported 365,000.

A Labor Department spokesman said last week that today’s data should be clear of any influence from the annual auto plant retooling closures that make it difficult to adjust the data for seasonal variations.

Bloomberg

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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell
Dean Popplewell

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