US data shows ease in slump

New orders for long-lasting US manufactured goods saw their biggest gain in 16 months in April and fewer workers filed for new jobless benefits last week, according to official data yesterday that suggested the deep recession was abating. The Commerce Department said new orders for durable goods rose 1.9 per cent, the biggest percentage advance since December 2007. A separate report from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment insurance dropped by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 623,000 in the week ended 23 May, falling for a second straight week.