US recovery stalls but firms are optimistic for renewed growth

Ben Southwood
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THE number of people seeking US unemployment benefits dipped last week but not by enough to signal a better month of hiring in June, according to Department of Labor data released yesterday.

New benefit claimants for the week ending 16 June edged down a minuscule 2,000 to 387,000; but this was an improvement on the increase of 9,000 seen during the previous week. Yet stats showed overall seasonally-adjusted insured unemployment unchanged for the week to 9 June, at 3,299,000.

The new unemployment data came in tandem with Philadelphia Federal Reserve data showing 40 per cent of American firms reporting declines in activity, versus 22 per cent reporting increases.

Firms also reported significant price declines, but were surprisingly optimistic about the future, with 34 per cent expecting increased activity, and only 14 per cent expecting a decrease.