US unemployed claims fall but imports surge

City A.M. Reporter
THE NUMBER of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a pick-up in the labour market recovery and renewed economic growth.

Meanwhile a separate economic report yesterday from across the pond revealed a widening in the US trade deficit in January due to a strong rebound in imports.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000, declining for a second straight week, the Labor Department said, and confounding economists’ expectations for a rise to 355,000.

The four-week moving average for new claims also fell 7,000 to 348,750 – the lowest level since March 2008 – pointing to some firming in underlying labour market conditions.

Separately, the Commerce Department said the trade gap rose to $44.45bn in January from a shortfall of $38.14bn in December.

US government bond prices fell on the claims data, while the euro climbed to session peaks against the dollar.