New US jobless claims hit lowest weekly level in over four years

Ben Southwood
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NEW US unemployment claims plummeted to a four and a half year low last week, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed yesterday.

Seasonally-adjusted new claims dropped 30,000 in just a week, from 369,000 to 339,000 – putting them 63,000 lower than a year ago.

The fall on the headline number came from a much smaller than expected rise in the unadjusted number, which grew 25,990 from 301,073 to 327,063.

And total insured unemployment continued to fall. For the week ending 29 September, seasonally-adjusted insured unemployment was 3,273,000 – down 15,000 on the previous week and 407,000 on the same week last year.

“This is a positive signal for the economy.” said Brian Kim at RBS Securities. “The overall trend seems to be that the labour market is improving.”

US trade data out yesterday was less positive. The US trade deficit expanded from $42.5bn (£26.5bn) in July to $44.2bn in August, the Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics showed, driven by exports that shrank $1.9bn. Analysts said trade could take as much as half a percentage point off GDP growth.