Yesterday the Labor Department released new data showing that initial claims for jobless benefits hit a four-month low last week. The trade gap also narrowed, which is providing optimism about the ever-struggling economy. We are all desperate for signs our economy is improving, so we might be jumping the gun. On the other hand, we’ll take any good news we get on the economic front.
The number of workers filing initial claims for unemployment benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 435,000 in the week to Nov. 6 from a revised 459,000 for the prior week.
The bigger-than-expected dropped was underscored by the four-week moving average of claims which fell to its lowest since just before Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008 in the depths of the financial crisis.
Meanwhile, a separate Commerce Department report showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed more than expected in September, despite near record imports from China, as a weak U.S. dollar helped American exports grow for the third consecutive month.
A narrower deficit is positive for U.S. economic growth since it suggests more demand is being met by U.S. production.
A third government report showed a jump in petroleum prices in October pushed overall import prices to their highest since April, but the rise was less than analysts expected.