Improvement in US labour market sees fall in claims

Fri, Oct 12, 2012, 01:00

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in more than 4½ years, according to government data yesterday that suggested an improvement in the labour market.

But a second report released yesterday hinted at weaker US and global demand. The US trade deficit widened in August to $44.2 billion, as US goods exports fell for the fifth consecutive month and imports declined fractionally. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the Labor Department said.

It was the lowest number of new claims since February 2008, about a year before president Barack Obama took office.

– (Reuters)