US labour market shows ongoing weakness


The number of US workers applying for state unemployment benefits fell last week but the labour market remains soft, the US government reported.

First-time jobless claims fell by 55,000 to a seasonally adjusted 438,000 for the week ended April 6th, the Labour Department said.

But although claims decreased last week, the level remained well above Wall Street's expectations and reflected a pickup over the past few weeks in applications for extended unemployment benefits.

The four-week moving average, a more reliable measure of employment conditions because it irons out weekly variations, rose to 433,750, the highest level since December of last year.

In further evidence of a weak labour market, the number of workers remaining on unemployment aid rose to a seasonally adjusted 3.78 million for the week ended March 30th, the highest level recorded in 19 years.