New claims for jobless benefits in the U.S. dropped in the week ending Apr. 2 to keep the trend continuing lower, while consumer comfort increased for the second week in a row, according to Bloomberg. On Thursday, the Labor Departmentreported that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 10,000 in the latest week to reach 382,000, slightly outpacing economists forecast for a drop of 3,000 claims. The modest decline moved the four-week average of new claims down by almost 6,000 to 389,500, and the number of Americans claiming continuing benefits also dropped.
The latest positive data comes on the heels of the unemployment rate dropping to a two-year low of 8.8% in March, and for Eric Green of TD Securities, the jobless claims report confirms, The improvement in the labor market is for real. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that its consumer comfort index improved for the second week in a row, reaching -44.5 in the week ending Arp. 3, which is up from -46.9 the week prior. The gain was linked to the labor market improvement that overcame concerns over rising food and fuel costs.