Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Lowest in Almost Four Years
Fewer Americans than forecast filed first-time applications for unemployment benefits last week, easing concern that post-holiday firings were on the rise. Claims plunged by 50,000 to 352,000 in the week ended Jan. 14, the lowest level since April 2008. The median forecast of economists projected 384,000. A Labor Department spokesman said the decrease reflected volatility seen during this time of year (holidays). The four-week average, which smoothes out fluctuations, decreased to 379,000 last week from 382,500. Cleary companies are slowing the pace of firings and beginning to step up the pace of hiring even as there’s a slump in Europe. Although clearly Europe’s problems may limit U.S. growth.
Other data today showed housing starts in December dropped more than forecast and consumer prices were little changed. Housing starts dropped 4.1 percent to a 657,000 annual rate
last month, reflecting a slump in multifamily dwellings, Commerce Department figures showed. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, were little changed.
Cost of Living / CPI
The cost of living was little changed for a second month as stores cut prices to boost holiday sales. The monthly figure was an increase in CPI of 0.1%. Excluding volatile food and fuel costs, the Core CPI also rose 0.1 Percent. The annual CPI / Cost of Living grew at 3.0%, in line with economist’s estimates, down slightly from the November rate of 3.4%.
Assistant State Treasurer
Chief Investment Officer
State of Louisiana
Department of the Treasury
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