The number of Americans filing fresh applications for jobless benefits increased more than expected last week, as structural weaknesses in the labor market persist.
Unemployment claims rose by 28,000 to 326,000 in the week ending May 17, up from 298,000 applications the previous week. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had expected the applications to increase to 310,000.
The number of individuals who are still receiving unemployment benefits fell by 13,000 to 2.65 million in the week ended May 10. The jobless rate among individuals who are qualified to obtain the benefits stood at 2 percent.
Firings must slow down in order for the job growth to accelerate, which will see wages increase and boost consumer spending, which contributes to 70 percent of the American economy. The number of new hirings in April rose by 288,000 employees, the most since 2012, up from 203,000 workers in March. Unemployment rate declined to 6.3 percent, the weakest since September 2008.
Sales of pre-owned houses in April rose to the strongest level since August 2012 as the housing market recovers from the winter-induced lull. The resales rose 1.3 percent to 4.65 million units, the second time the sales rose in nine months. However, the figure lagged economists’ prediction of the 4.68 million units in a Reuters poll.
“The spring housing market may be a little late to bloom but the increase in sales is welcome news showing increased confidence in the economy,” said Bill Banfield, vice president of Quicken Loans.
However, the sales are 15 percent lower than the record 5.38 million units sold last July, and 6.8 percent weaker than the sales recorded in April 2013. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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