US jobless claimants come down

The number of Americans lining up for jobless benefits tumbled in the last week, a decline seen as distorted by upheaval in the car industry, while a key regional factory index slipped in July, reports showed yesterday.<br /><br />At the same time, US home foreclosures raced to a record high in the first half of 2009, swamping efforts by the White House to remedy the spate of failing loans.<br /><br />The day&rsquo;s reports highlighted the frailty of the US economy at a time many forecasters see the economy poised to climb out of a deep recession that started in December 2007.<br /><br />The Philadelphia Federal Reserve said its index of manufacturing conditions in the US Mid-Atlantic region fell to minus 7.5 in July from June&rsquo;s unexpectedly strong reading of minus 2.2. Analysts had expected a slightly smaller decline this month.<br /><br />The Philadelphia Federal Reserve report was consistent with views that the initial stages of recovery will be far from robust.<br /><br />In news on the closely watched jobs market, the US Labour Department said initial claims for state unemployment insurance fell 47,000 to a seasonally adjusted 522,000 in the week ended 11 July.<br /><br />The figure was much lower than expected, but was not seen as a sign of a sudden, sharp improvement in the labour market.