US Retail Sales Rise Less than Expected and Jobless Claims Rise

U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in May and first-time applications for unemployment benefits increased last week, but that will probably do little to change views that the economy is regaining momentum.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales gained 0.3 percent last month. While that was below economists’ expectations for a 0.6 percent rise, April’s retail sales were revised to show a 0.5 percent increase.

Retail sales, which account for a third of consumer spending, had previously been reported have gained 0.1 percent in April.

In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 317,000 for the week ended June 7.

With job growth rising solidly in May and manufacturing and services industries expanding strongly, the retail and jobless claims reports probably will not cause too much anxiety.

U.S. stock index futures edged lower on the data, while prices for U.S. Treasury debt rose.

The economy added 217,000 jobs in May, the fourth straight month of job gains above 200,000. It has recouped all the 8.7 million jobs lost during the recession. The unemployment rate held steady at a 5-1/2 year low of 6.3 percent.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza