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Imports Drive Up US Trade Gap, Jobless Claims Rise
Strong imports into the U.S. widened the country’s trade deficit in the first month of the year, suggesting that demand continues to increase as the labor market gradually improves, according to Rueters.
Strong imports into the U.S. widened the countrys trade deficit in the first month of the year, suggesting that demand continues to increase as the labor market gradually improves, according to Rueters. On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit for the U.S. with the rest of the world grew by $6 billion to reach $46.3 billion January, outpacing forecasts for a rise of just $1 billion from the prior month. Surging oil, capital goods, and car imports outpaced a record increase in exports, suggesting that domestic demand is strengthening.
Eric Green of TD Securities said the report was bullish, and said he sees the data as more of a reflection of strength than weakness. A separate report from the Labor Department showed that initial claims for jobless benefits increased by 26,000 in the week ending Mar. 5 to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 397,000. The gain was more than the 378,000 economists had predicted, but kept the four-week average of new claims below the critical level of 400,000 at 392,250, which is seen as indicative of steady jobs growth.