Fed’s taper looks distant as US jobless figures fail to impress

CLAIMS for unemployment benefits in the US declined by only 9,250 since the previous announcement, according to figures released yesterday.

The number of people receiving welfare payments for joblessness fell from 2.98m to 2.97m, a slow pace of improvement.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has recently insisted that its programme of quantitative easing (QE) will only be slowed down if there are improvements to growth and the labour market.

American growth was revised downward by 0.6 percentage points for the first quarter on Wednesday. Bernanke has said he will not consider raising rates until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 per cent or lower.

Personal income in the US ticked up slightly in May, when compared to April, by 0.5 per cent. However, the level of income is still in a slump after a significant 3.6 per cent fall in February.