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US Durables Slump, Jobless Claims Improve
Orders for long-lasting goods in the U.S. posted a surprised decline during the second month of the year, suggesting uncertainty over the outlook for businesses, according to Bloomberg.
Orders for long-lasting goods in the U.S. posted a surprised decline during the second month of the year, suggesting uncertainty over the outlook for businesses, according to Bloomberg. On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that bookings for durable goods fell by 0.9% in February after gaining a revised 3.6% in the previous month, defying economists forecast for a 1.2% increase in orders. Excluding transportation equipment, orders fell for the second month in a row and demand for business equipment declines as well. David Semmens of Standard Chartered said the data suggests, Businesses seem more cautious about the outlook.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed that initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 in the week ending Mar. 19 to 382,000, which is the lowest level in nearly three years. The drop brought the four-week average lower by 1,500 to 386,750, suggesting that the labor market is continuing to improve despite uncertain economic conditions. Meanwhile, Bloombergs consumer comfort index slipped about half a point to -48.9 in the week ending Mar. 20 as the gauge for the current economy fell to a 15-month low, a decline driven by the surging cost of gasoline.
Click here to read the story on durables and jobless claims from Bloomberg News.
Click here for coverage of the consumer comfort index from Bloomberg News.