Tag Archives: Labor Department

Senate OKs Obama pick to head Labor Department

A divided Senate confirmed Thomas Perez on Thursday to become secretary of labor, elevating the son of Dominican immigrants who as a top Justice Department official won praise from Democrats for aggressively enforcing civil rights laws and criticism from Republicans for being a liberal ideologue.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox News – Politics

How To Save For Retirement When It Seems Impossible

By Nancy Anderson, Contributor

Baby Boomers aren’t saving enough.  According to the Ameriprise Financial study Across Generations II, only 27% of Baby Boomers say they are very confident that they will be able to continue their current lifestyles in retirement compared to 44% in 2007.  How are they supposed to fund their retirement when health insurance premiums have increased and raises are stagnant?  According to the Milliman Medical Index, employees have seen a yearly average increase in their medical premiums of 8-9%.  In the past couple of years, what have wages done? Not much. Despite some recent good news from the Labor Department’s June job report showing an increase of 10 cents in the average hourly wage, it’s still challenging for many to get ahead. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Philadelphia Federal Reserve: Very Slow Growth, Poor Employment

By 24/7 Wall St.

Filed under: ,

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve, or the Philly Fed, is out with its monthly report on business for the month of April. As the Business Outlook Survey is a somewhat live reading, we pay attention to the report. The index indicator for overall activity remained slightly positive this month at 2.5. Bloomberg was expecting a reading of 3.3, with a range of 0.0 to 6.5 from its pool of economists.

Prices paid fell to 3.1 from 8.5, while prices received fell to -7.5 from -0.8 when compared to March. We saw a large drop in employment, down to -6.8 from a positive 2.7 in March. New orders fell to -1.0 from a positive 0.5 in March.

Two readings are showing conflicting data for the coming month. Shipments rose to 9.1 in April, versus 3.5 in March, but inventories fell to -22.0, versus 0.0 in March. If shipments are up and inventories are down, what does that tell you about overall production?

After parsing through the report, other broad indicators were mixed as the indicators for new orders and employment were weaker for April. The Philly Fed showed that indicators of future activity suggest that firms are continuing to expect growth, but optimism waned compared with last month. Today’s news is on top of a weaker-than-expected report from the Labor Department‘s reading on weekly jobless claims.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy, Labor

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/18/philadelphia-federal-reserve-very-slow-growth-poor-employment/

U.S. Jobless Claims Climb Slightly in Latest Week

By Reuters

Filed under: , , , ,

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, which could further allay fears of a major setback in the labor market recovery.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000 the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s number was revised to show 2,000 more applications than previously reported.

A Labor Department analyst said claims for California and Kentucky had been estimated.

Despite the increase last week, which was broadly in line with economists’ expectations, claims held near a level economists normally associate with average monthly job gains of more than 150,000.

That could help to further ease concerns of a deterioration in labor market conditions after nonfarm payrolls posted their smallest increase in nine months in March.

The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, rose 2,750 to 361,250.

Last week’s claims data covered the survey period for April nonfarm payrolls. Claims increased 11,000 between the March and April survey periods.

But given recent volatility because of the early Easter and spring breaks this year, claims are probably not useful in trying to gauge April payrolls.

Employers added 88,000 workers to their payrolls last month after a solid 268,000 increase in February.

While there is no doubt job growth has slowed in line with the overall economy, economists said March’s meager gains overstated the labor market‘s weakness.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 35,000 to 3.07 million in the week ended April 6.



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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/18/weekly-jobless-claims-rise-slightly/

Import and Export Prices Drop for March

By Justin Loiseau, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Export and import prices are both down for March, according to a Labor Department report (link opens in PDF) released today.

After bumping up 0.6% in February on high fuel prices, a subsequent 1.9% fuel price drop pushed import prices down 0.5% for March. Export prices also dipped, down 0.4% after February’s 0.7% increase.

Market analysts were on the nose for imports, having expected a 0.5% decrease. Exports, however, missed analysts’ mark of a 0.1% increase.

On a country-level basis, import prices from China dropped 0.2% for March and are down 1.1% for the last 12 months. European Union import prices fell 0.7% from February.

Agricultural prices have been a major driver behind export price increases over the last year, but a 1.8% slump for March prices was the primary pull behind export’s month-over-month price reversal.

link

The article Import and Export Prices Drop for March originally appeared on Fool.com.

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ou can follow Justin Loiseau on Twitter, @TMFJLo, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFJLo.
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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/11/import-and-export-prices-drop-for-march/

Initial Jobless Claims Fall 10.8%

By Justin Loiseau, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Initial jobless claims fell 10.8% to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 for the week ending April 6, according to a Labor Department report released today.

Compared to the previous week’s 8.7% jump, this latest report comes as a reprieve after three straight weeks of initial claims increases. Market analysts had expected only a drop to 365,000 initial claims.

Source: Author, data from Labor Department

While the four-week moving average bumped up 0.8% to 358,000, both the most recent week’s number and the moving average clocked in solidly below 400,000, a cutoff point that economists consider a sign of an improving labor market.

On a state-by-state basis, four states recorded decreases of more than 1,000 in their initial jobless claims for the week ending March 30 (most recent available data). Texas led the improvement (-3,490), followed by California (-2,660), North Carolina (-1,600), and Arkansas (-1,220). North Carolina was the only state to submit a reason for the drop, citing fewer layoffs in food and business industries.

For the same week, six states recorded increases of more than 1,000. Pennsylvania clocked an additional 3,015 initial claims, followed by New Jersey (+2,410) and Illinois (+2,150). Transportation and construction layoffs were a common theme for the slump.

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The article Initial Jobless Claims Fall 10.8% originally appeared on Fool.com.

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/11/jobless-claims/

Has Obama Finally Gone Too Far?

By Floyd Brown

Obama Feeds America SC Has Obama Finally Gone Too Far?

Obama is having great political success by opposing wealth accumulation.

He’s doing it by attacking the rich. You might be a victim yourself!

According to the president, it’s unfair that some Americans have been able to stash away more money than others.

Now, based on information obtained by Capitol Hill Daily, President Obama’s latest move is likely to infuriate you.

His fiscal year 2014 budget – to be released this week – will target tax deductions associated with popular Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs.

These accounts are used by millions of Americans to reduce current taxes and augment retirement savings.

Under Obama’s proposed changes, a tax-preferred retirement account shouldn’t produce more than $205,000 per year.

Obama also wants to heap other major tax increases on the wealthy. (To him, the significant tax increases that were passed as part of the Fiscal Cliff deal in January weren’t steep enough.)

He’s demanding that Congress raise additional taxes and stop people from stashing away (what he considers to be) too much money.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the government’s latest actions to swipe money out from under us…

They’re Robbing Grandma, Too

The budget also includes significant cuts in Social Security benefits.

The cuts to Social Security include a sly reform called a “chained CPI.” This would change the numbers used to calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustment.

You see, the government currently uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to measure inflation. According to the Department of Labor, the CPI measures how much the cost of a “market basket of consumer goods” changes over time. That basket includes things like food, clothing, computers, and other consumer goods.

The new chained CPI adjusts the traditional CPI for potential changes in goods purchased as a result of price increases.

For example, with a chained CPI, the Labor Department would suppose that – if the cost of fish increases – you’ll likely choose to eat chicken instead. And when chicken prices go up, these all-knowing federal employees speculate that you might (again) choose a less expensive alternative.

As a result, they’re constantly changing the basket of goods to minimize the appearance and effects of inflation on government finances.

Yet this same deceitful move proliferates the impact of price increases on grandma’s social security check.

It Gets Worse: The Buried Taxes of Inflation

If you use U.S. dollars, then your money is taxed by inflation.

Here’s how…

If inflation is running at 3% – and you don’t get a 3% raise – you’re making less money in real terms by the end of the year.

Your money buys you less food, less gas, less real estate, and less anything than it did at the start of the year.

Translation? You’re literally poorer.

And not only are you paying more in prices, but you’re paying higher taxes on these goods, too…

That’s because inflation relentlessly pushes taxes up. When prices increase, the sales tax on all goods sold goes up as well.

When real estate prices rise, real estate taxes go up. When prices on imported goods increase, the duties and fees on these goods grow, too.

Makes sense, right? Well, it gets more complicated than that…

What most Americans

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Survey: Small business optimism falls in March

Optimism among small business owners took a dive last month as their expectations for sales and the overall business climate fell.

That’s the finding of a survey released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business. The advocacy group says its index of small business optimism, compiled from a survey of 759 of its members, fell 1.3 points to 89.5 after three months of gains.

More than three-quarters of the owners expect business conditions in six month to be the same as they are now, or worse. The number of owners expecting higher sales fell.

The survey followed other reports showing slower business during March. The Institute for Supply Management said growth slowed in manufacturing and service companies. And the Labor Department said employers added only 88,000 jobs.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Dropouts: Discouraged Americans leave labor force

After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.

She’d already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, counseling the disabled. But she couldn’t land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.

Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she’ll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.

“I’m not proud of it,” says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. “The only way I’m able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on.”

Baebler’s frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they’ve given up on the job market.

Older Americans have retired early. Younger ones have enrolled in school. Others have suspended their job hunt until the employment landscape brightens. Some, like Baebler, are collecting disability checks.

It isn’t supposed to be this way. After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market.

Instead, the number of Americans in the labor force — those who have a job or are looking for one — fell by nearly half a million people from February to March, the government said Friday. And the percentage of working-age adults in the labor force — what’s called the participation rate — fell to 63.3 percent last month. It’s the lowest such figure since May 1979.

The falling participation rate tarnished the only apparent good news in the jobs report the Labor Department released Friday: The unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.6 percent in March from 7.7 in February.

People without a job who stop looking for one are no longer counted as unemployed. That’s why the U.S. unemployment rate dropped in March despite weak hiring. If the 496,000 who left the labor force last month had still been looking for jobs, the unemployment rate would have risen to 7.9 percent in March.

“Unemployment dropped for all the wrong reasons,” says …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Slow Job Growth Puts Brakes on the Dow

By Matt Thalman, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Market participants have been hit with poor jobs data three days in a row this week, and each seemed to be worse than the one before. On Wednesday, ADP released their report, which indicated that the private sector added only 158,000 jobs. Thursday, the Labor Department published weekly jobless claims that rose to 385,000 initial claims last week. And today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that only 88,000 new jobs were created in the month of March.

The three reports combined paint a really bad picture of the jobs marke,t and caused the market, in general, to decline today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 40 points, or 0.28%, while the S&P 500 performed slightly worse, losing 0.43%. The NASDAQ, unfortunately, took third place, after it lost 0.65% of its value.

Technology stocks really took it on the chin today, and to read about a few of the big losers, click here. Or to learn about some of the other Dow losers, continue reading below.

Shares of American Express fell 2.14% today on the heels of the poor jobs data. When the country is in a state of high unemployment and a poor jobs market, consumers tend to spend less money or, at the very least, borrow less money. That means credit cards are often put in the back of the wallet, and cash is used more frequently. With lower transaction counts, and less borrowed money to charge interest on, the credit card company may likely post lower revenue, resulting in lower profits.

The Home Depot was also hit hard by the jobs report today. Shares lost 0.89% of their value after the report indicated that retail trade employment declined by 24,000 in the month of March, and 10,000 of that came directly from building material and garden supply stores. Although Home Depot announced that it was planning to hire 80,000 seasonal workers this year, the cold weather throughout the country during the month of March has surely pushed the hiring dates back.  

Another big loser today was Coca-Cola , as shares fell 1.13%. The soft drink king is up 10.57% since the start of 2013, but lagging behind the Dow’s 11.15% gain year to date. Shares recently set a new 52-week high, and are still within striking distance of that mark, even after today’s decline. Shares remain reasonably priced at 20 times past earnings, or 17 times expected earnings, and some consider the company’s 2.8% dividend yield just as safe as treasury yields.

Coca-Cola’s wide moat has helped provide its shareholders with superior gains in the past, but the company faces some new threats to its continued market dominance. The Motley Fool recently compiled a premium research report containing everything you need to know about Coca-Cola. If you own or are considering owning shares in the company, you’ll want to click here now and get started!

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Women Entrepreneurs Are Leading Job Growth As Unemployment Stagnates

By Meghan Casserly, Forbes Staff

The U.S. unemployment rate took another baby-step down this morning according to the Labor Department, who say employers added just 88,000 jobs last month. Economists are concerned that the number of jobs added didn’t match optimistic expectations given signs of recovery in the housing and consumer sectors. Many are left scratching their heads. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Treasury Bond Market’s Warning More Frightening Than Jobs Report

By The Huffington Post News Editors

Steve Stockman official portrait Congressman moves to automatically kill Senate gun ban

The bond market tried to warn us about March’s grim jobs report. And it’s still warning us that the economy is not in great shape.

Ten-year Treasury note yields fell to their lowest levels since December on Thursday, a day before the Labor Department reported the weakest job growth in nearly a year. Yields fell even further after the jobs report was released Friday morning, dipping briefly below 1.7 percent, the lowest since Dec. 12, according to data tracker Tradeweb.

Read More…
More on Mark Gongloff on Money

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Dow Plummets on More Weak Labor Market News

By Jessica Alling, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is planted firmly in the red this morning following the third data release to signal a weakening labor market this week. Down 122 points as of 11 a.m. EDT, the index has a steep climb back to breakeven, with little help on the way from additional economic data releases.

And it was going so well…
Jobs data has been a big thorn in the market‘s side all week. Following two other disappointing data points, this morning’s employment situation report was no different. Though analysts had expected an addition of 200,000 jobs in March, the month only delivered a paltry 88,000. And though the overall unemployment rate fell 10 basis points to 7.6%, it was mostly due to people dropping out of the labor market, according to the Labor Department — not a good sign. 

The new trend of a weakening labor market may induce broader effects on the economy, as GDP may be revised to show lower consumer spending. It will also take its toll on the financial sector, which is following the Dow south this morning.

Financials fall again
American Express is one of the Dow’s biggest losers this morning, down 2.65% so far in trading. The personal finance company was at a 52-week high just a little over a week ago following the news of FDIC insurance being added to its prepaid cards, as well as a 150-million-share buyback program. But continued concerns over the labor market may have hit the premium credit card company, which relies on consumer spending to generate revenues through interest. Another blow may have come in the form of a downgrade to “hold” by Jefferies Group analysts yesterday. Though other firms have reiterated buys and higher price targets, the company’s average rating remains a hold.

Travelers Companies is down 0.87% so far this morning, making it the second-biggest financial loser for the Dow. Despite being a hedge fund and analyst favorite, the insurer is down — though unlikely to stay there. Though insurance firms have to rely on consumer spending as well, their products are more necessary than items purchased on a credit card, for instance. Several firms have reiterated “buy”s for the company in the past week, with a price target of $88. The stock traded this morning at $83.61.

JPMorgan has been on a downward trend for the past few weeks, with continued scrutiny from federal investigators regarding its London Whale losses likely to incite a continued sense of uncertainty among investors. But the bank recently won a substantial victory in a court case that may help it avoid some other legal uncertainty in the future. The victory came in the form of a judge dismissing a large portion of the case, in which European bank Dexia charged that JPM knowingly sold it bad mortgage-backed securities before the financial crash. Though not all securities in question were thrown out of the lawsuit, …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Employers Added 88,000 Jobs in March, Far Fewer Than Expected

By The Associated Press

Filed under: , , , ,

Steve Helber/AP

By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON — American employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months in March, a sign that Washington’s austerity drive could be stealing momentum from the economy.

The economy added just 88,000 jobs last month and the jobless rate ticked a tenth of a point lower to 7.6 percent largely due to people dropping out of the work force, Labor Department data showed on Friday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a gain of 200,000.

The slower pace of growth in payrolls marks a steep reversal of the recent trend in which the labor market appeared to be stepping up its pace of recovery. It also comes after Washington increased taxes in January and just as across-the-board federal budget cuts began in March.

“When you get to numbers below 100,000, you have to start worrying,” Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics in London, said before the data was released.

The slowdown in job growth could make policymakers at the Federal Reserve more confident about continuing a bond-buying stimulus program. Discussion at the central bank has been growing over whether to dial back the purchases, perhaps as soon as this summer.

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Analysts have noted that the federal spending cuts have only just begun and will be a more substantial drag on the economy between April and June, when many government workers begin taking days off work without pay.

Government payrolls fell only 7,000 in March, reversing the 14,000-job gain from February.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who has said the labor market must show sustained improvement before monetary stimulus is eased, has voiced concern about the spending cuts.

The jobless rate fell as the labor force shrank by 496,000 people. The unemployment rate is derived from a survey of households which is separate from the survey of employer payrolls. The household survey actually showed employment fell by 206,000 in March.

The drop in the labor force sent the share of the population that is either employed or looking for work to 63.3 percent, its lowest since 1979.

Reporting by Jason Lange; editing by Andre Grenon.

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…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Oil dips slightly ahead of US employment data

Oil prices were barely changed Friday ahead of the release of employment figures that traders hope will shed light on the state of the U.S. economy.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was down 5 cents to $93.21 a barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.19 to finish at $93.26 on Thursday after U.S. data showed an increase in the number of people seeking jobless benefits.

That raised the possibility of reduced energy demand as fewer people traveling to work would lower demand for gasoline.

Traders are now awaiting a key employment report for March that the Labor Department will release later Friday. The U.S. economy added a robust 236,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent.

The prospect of slowing demand comes on top of the burgeoning supply of oil in the U.S. and both are keeping a lid on oil prices.

On Wednesday, the Energy Department said crude oil inventories rose last week to the highest level since July 1990.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, rose 4 cents to $106.38 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Heating oil rose 0.7 cent to $2.97 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 0.2 cent to $3.949 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Gasoline was steady at $2.899 a gallon.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

High Jobless Claims Couldn't Hold Back the Dow

By Matt Thalman, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

The markets, in general, fought hard today, and all the major indexes managed to post a winning session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 55 points, or 0.38%, and closed at 14,606. The S&P 500 performed slightly better, rising 0.4%, and now rests at 1,559, while the NASDAQ managed to pull itself higher by 0.2%.

The markets reacted positively to the massive stimulus plan that Japan announced today. The country is following our own central bank, and will soon start a $1.4 trillion quantitative easing program. This positive news was enough to keep investors bullish, even after the Labor Department released weekly jobless claims that increased more than expected. Economists were expecting claims to hit 350,000, but the actual number came in at 385,000, or 28,000 claims higher than the previous week.  

Speaking of the job market, shares of McDonald’s hit a new 52-week high today, despite the company’s difference in opinion from its employees about the job market, and shares managed to close up 1.39%. Today’s rally came despite company employees joining other fast-food restaurant workers to protest in New York City today. The protestors are primarily asking for higher hourly wages. The statewide average pay for fast-food workers is currently $8.25 per hour, and today’s protestors are requesting $15 per hour.  

AT&T shareholders cheered today after Facebook announced that its new “Home” smartphone interface will be exclusively available through the wireless provider. Shares of AT&T rose by 1.69% on the news, while its only true competitor, Verizon, rose 0.63%. My Fool colleague Travis Hoium raised a very good point earlier today, saying that, while the exclusivity is great for AT&T now, he questioned how long it would last. We have seen this in the past with other big exclusivity contracts, most notably the iPhone, and how it eventually went away.

The turnaround efforts made by Hewlett-Packard continue to impress shareholders. This was  made evident once again today, as the stock rose another 1.78%. Year to date, H-P is hands down the best performing Dow component, as shares have risen 56.49%. That’s more than three times the 17.56% return that shares of JPMorgan Chase, the next best performing Dow component, have done this year.

After the closing bell rang today, Hewlett-Packard announced that chairman Ray Lane is stepping down from his chairman position, but will still remain a board member. The move comes as a result of shareholders voicing their disapproval of Lane’s leadership at the company’s most recent board meeting, when he only received 59% of the vote for re-election to the board. As of this writing, shares of H-P were trading lower by 0.22% during the after-hours session.

More foolish insight

The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including venerable technology names like Hewlett-Packard. However, HP‘s rapidly shifting its strategy under the new leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Initial Jobless Claims Jump 7.8%

By Justin Loiseau, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Initial jobless claims jumped 7.8% to a seasonally adjusted 385,000, according to a Labor Department report released today. Market analysts had been expecting a 2% dip  after the previous week’s unrevised 4.7% rise.

Source: Author, data from Labor Department

Longer-term trends provide little relief from these newest numbers. The four-week moving average jumped 3.3% to 354,250 after three consecutive weeks of increasing initial claims pushed the average higher last week.

Despite the increases, both the most recent week’s number and the moving average clocked in solidly below 400,000, a cutoff point that economists consider a sign of an improving labor market.

On a state-by-state basis, only Virginia recorded a decrease of more than 1,000 in its initial jobless claims for the week ending March 23 (most recent available data). The state pointed to fewer manufacturing layoffs as the primary reason for its 1,120 drop in initial claims.

For the same week, five states recorded increases of more than 1,000. California led the rise with 8,710 new initial claims, citing layoffs in the service, retail, and wholesale industries. Texas (+2,740) and Kansas (+1,610) followed behind, but did not provide any comments explaining their bumps in initial claims.

The article Initial Jobless Claims Jump 7.8% originally appeared on Fool.com.

Y
ou can follow Justin Loiseau on Twitter @TMFJLo and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFJLo.
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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

US unemployment aid applications jump to 385,000

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose to a four-month high last week, although the increase partly reflects seasonal distortions around the spring holidays.

Weekly applications increased 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the third straight weekly increase and the highest level since late November. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 354,250.

A Labor Department spokesman says it can be difficult to seasonally adjust the figures during the Easter holiday because the timing of the holiday varies from year to year. Economists warned before the report that the data could be volatile.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The recent increases could suggest that companies are cutting jobs, possibly because of steep government spending cuts that began on March 1. Other reports have pointed to that possible trend, although most economists have said that any reductions are likely temporary.

The government will issue the March employment report Friday.

Job growth has picked up in recent months. Employers added an average of 200,000 jobs per month from November through February. That’s nearly double the average from last spring.

Stronger economic growth this year has spurred more hiring. A steady housing recovery has boosted home construction and prices. Higher home prices make Americans feel wealthier, which can spur more spending.

In February, consumer spending rose by the most in five months. And consumer confidence improved in March from the previous month, according to a survey released last week by the University of Michigan.

Two reports Wednesday, however, suggested companies may have grown more cautious last month. Services companies grew in March but at a slower pace than in February, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group. Service firms, which include retailers, hotels, restaurants and financial companies, cut back on hiring and a measure of new orders fell.

And private employers added fewer jobs in March compared with February, according to payroll processor ADP. Construction firms didn’t add any positions after three months of strong gains.

Several economists lowered their forecasts for hiring in March after Wednesday’s reports. Still, many analysts cautioned that the ADP is not always an accurate predictor of the government‘s more comprehensive figures

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Japan's Money-Printing Frenzy and Today's Other Important Financial Stories

By John Maxfield, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

After a rough day yesterday, financial stocks are generally higher this morning. The financial stories below help to explain why.

1. Bank of Japan: Let the printing begin!
What’s the best way to get an economy up and going again? According to Japan‘s central bank, the answer is to print copious amounts of money. In the first policy statement since Haruhiko Kuroda took over as the head of the institution, the Bank of Japan outlined what’s being claimed as the most aggressive monetary policy since the Weimar Republic:

The Bank will achieve the price stability target of 2 percent in terms of the year-on-year rate of change in the consumer price index (CPI) at the earliest possible time, with a time horizon of about two years. In order to do so, it will enter a new phase of monetary easing both in terms of quantity and quality. It will double the monetary base and the amounts outstanding of Japanese government bonds (JGBs) as well as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in two years, and more than double the average remaining maturity of JGB purchases.

Policymakers in Japan have been struggling for nearly two decades to find a solution to the deflation that’s hung over the country’s economy since the early 1990s. In the most recent election, it was a central facet of the new prime minister’s economic policy. And following his inauguration last December, he’s set upon accomplishing this objective by selecting Kuroda to chair the central bank.

According to the bank’s president, “Incremental steps of the kind we’ve seen so far weren’t going to get us out of deflation. I’m certain we have now adapted all policies we can think of to meet the 2 percent price target.” To read more about this, check out The New York Times article here.

2. MF Global Report
Thought you had heard the last about former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine and MF Global’s astonishing collapse? Think again.

This morning, the trustee for the failed commodity company’s bankruptcy issued its long-awaited report on what led to the collapse and how significant the damages were. As The Wall Street Journal noted, the bankruptcy trustee laid the blame squarely at Corzine’s feet, saying that a risky business strategy, inadequate systems, and “negligent conduct” contributed to the company’s unraveling.

“Corzine and his management team failed to strengthen the company’s weak control environment, making it almost impossible to properly monitor the liquidity drains on the company caused by Corzine’s proprietary trading strategy,” the report said. You can read the 124-page report here.

3. Jobs Data
According to data released today by the Labor Department, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week hit a four-month high. For the week ended March 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initially came in at 385,000, an increase of 28,000 applications over the prior week. According to Reuters, economists had expected the …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance